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Vegetarian Dinner: Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant Ragu

August 23, 2013

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The end of summer is upon us, which means the farmers markets are starting to look a little purple. Eggplants in every shape and size are sprouting up in all the farm stands, begging to be picked from the bunch and brought home for a delicious vegetarian dish. Most of the time eggplants tend to make their dinnertime debut fried in breadcrumbs and smothered in cheese, but eggplants don’t need to contribute to an unhealthy meal. In fact, they are much better served in a dish that highlights their hearty flavor! We love this recipe for Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant Ragu. It’s a vegetarian dish that is sure to please even your most carnivorous dinner guest!

Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant and Tomato Ragu

Adapted from Epicurious

For quinoa cakes

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat or gluten-free bread crumbs (make your own by toasting crumbling bread slices)

For topping

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup drained bottled roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients for the quinoa patties in a bowl. Form small, 1-inch thick patties and place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the quinoa cakes for about 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and drain 30 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of eggplant to extract liquid, then pat dry.
  4. Cook eggplant, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, roasted peppers, and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is very tender and mixture is thick (if dry, thin with a little water), about 10 minutes.
  5. Spoon eggplant mixture over the quinoa patties to serve.