This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free and vegetarian.

When shopping at my favorite local farm in Austin, I picked up a few baby eggplants and asked one of the farmers for recommendations on the best way to cook these beautiful little gems. She suggested to not cook them at all, but to slice them raw into thin slices to best enjoy they’re sweet, light flavor. Wanting to balance the sweetness of the eggplant, I paired them with quick-pickled onions and arugula for a slightly sour and spicy contrast.

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-3 baby eggplants, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, pickled (see Quick-Pickling recipe below)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 10 oz. washed arugula
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Quick-Pickling Recipe

  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 allspice berries (or ¼ tsp. ground allspice)
  • 5 whole cloves (or ¼ tsp. ground cloves)
  • 1 small, dried chile pepper

Directions for Pickling

  1. In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling.
  2. Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  4. Transfer onions and liquid into a far and refrigerate until ready to use.

seasonal summer salad eggplantDirections for Salad

  1. Rinse quinoa and cook according to directions. Let cool.
  2. Toss arugula, eggplant, pickled onion (along with 1 tsp. pickling liquid), quinoa and oil in a bowl.
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste.

I made this salad part of a satisfying meal by serving it alongside baked sweet potato fries. For an extra flavor and protein boost, add shavings of parmesan cheese before serving the salad. Using local, seasonal ingredients like eggplant and arugula are a great way to ensure your getting the most nutrition and flavor from your produce, not to mention the environmental advantages of buying local!

If you like this recipe, try our Grilled Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad.

Happy Eating!

Holly