If I do not want to wait until next summer, I guess I should hurry up a little with proposing you recipes starring aubergines. And yet, thankfully, they were still there yesterday when I strolled past the vegetable stands at the food market… I have cooked up this summery-yet-hearty recipe in mid-summer, and actually find this time of the year an even better moment to enjoy it. I cannot deny that summer is officially over (at least that is the Brussels situation and if you, on the other hand, find yourself in the middle of an Indian summer, than that is very, very good for you) and my food cravings are slowly but surely moving towards warming, savoury, and maybe even spicy dishes…but I am having a little trouble of letting go of summer completely yet. (Can anybody relate?) And somehow this dish reconciliates both for me, it is summer and autumn on a plate so to speak. Eases the ‘pain’ a bit, doesn’t it? At least I hope so…
So please find below a satisfying, colourful summer plate with roasted aubergines and chickpeas, a slightly spicy tomato sauce, all served on quinoa with caramelized onions. The sheep yoghurt is not necessary, but adds some freshness.
The tomato sauce goes equally well with pasta!
Quinoa with Caramelised Onions, Roasted Aubergines and Chickpeas and Spicy Tomato Sauce
Serves 2 (people with a big appetite)
This recipe is inspired by a rice pilaf recipe with aubergines by Marley Spoon.
Start by preparing the roasted aubergines and chickpeas.
2 heaped tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, slightly crushed with a pestle and mortar, or ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
½ teaspoon paprika powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
a generous pinch of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
2 cloves garlic, skin on, slightly crushed with the back of a knife
1 aubergine (about 200g), cut into 2cm x 2cm big cubes
1 can chickpeas (240g net weight), rinsed and drained
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the aubergine cubes in a big bowl with cold water and leave for ten minutes for the bitter aromas to leave. Drain, pat dry with some kitchen paper and squeeze out any excess liquid (the cubes should loose a little of their spongy structure).
On a big baking tray mix the olive oil and all spices with a fork until well combined. Add the aubergines, chickpeas and garlic and cover equally with the spiced oil. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the aubergines are soft and have browned around the edges.
Once the aubergines are in the oven, prepare the spicy tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 small onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, slightly crushed, or ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
pinch of chili (feel free to add as much as you like)
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon capers, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon fresh (or dried) thyme
1 can tinned tomatoes (400g)
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium size cooking pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Fry the onions for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and continue frying for another minute. Add all other ingredients, except for the tomatoes and salt and pepper, and keep on frying for another minute, until you start smelling the spices. Add the tomatoes, turn down the heat to low and simmer, partly covered with a lid, for 25 minutes. You should end up with quite a thick sauce, so only add a bit of water if really needed. Take off heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
With the aubergines in the oven and the tomato sauce gently simmering, cook the quinoa with caramelized onion:
100g quinoa, rinsed under hot water
1 small onion, cut into fine rings
Place the quinoa together with cold water (quinoa : water ratio is 1 : 2) in a small cooking pot and simmer, covered with a lid, for about 15 minutes. Check if it needs to cook a bit longer, adding a bit of warm water if needed. In case there is any excess liquid, drain in a colander.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the onion rings for about 8-9 minutes, until completely soft and caramelized.
Mix the caramelized onion through the quinoa.
Juice of half a lemon to finish
Some flat-leaf parsley to top off
Optional: some (sheep) yoghurt
Divide the quinoa over two plates, add some aubergines and chickpeas, tomato sauce, drizzle over some lemon juice and finish with a few dots of yoghurt (if using) and parsley.