This is a nice go-to dinner. Its quick, easy and a makes a beautiful presentation. Thanks to Conor’s recipe request I now have a wonderfully easy new dish in my repertoire.
Although iron is a necessary mineral for the body, too much is harmful and causes a rise in free radicals which is associated with many diseases. Eggplant naturally mops up and removes excess iron which keeps the body’s iron levels balanced. Eggplant’s nutrients also shield the brain cell membranes which is important for allowing the entry of nutrients and exit of harmful wastes. It is full of dietary fiber so is a great choice for anyone on a diet to lose some extra weight. Eggplants have been used as a natural method to control and reduce glucose levels of type ll diabetes because of the fact that they are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
Quinoa provides the body with all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein. It contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. Needed for tissue repair and to build and maintain muscle, protein is used by almost every cell in the body. Foods high in protein also promote satiety. Quinoa helps to control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Quinoa is high in antioxidant activity, helping to protect the body from free radical damage. Quinoa is a high-fiber food with five grams of fiber per cup (cooked). Fiber not only promotes digestive health, but may also reduce the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women, may prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, promotes weight loss, and aids weight maintenance.
Spinach is an extremely nutrient-dense food. One cup contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is an excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein. Spinach is an excellent choice for nutrition without high calories.
If you have not heard of sumac spice, it worth seeking out in Mediterranean markets as it can be employed for many culinary uses, and contains a few health benefits as well. Sumac is known for its ability to calm an upset stomach but in laboratory studies it has also exhibited antioxidant activity.
PAN-SEARED EGGPLANT WITH QUINOA AND SPINACH CHIMICHURRI
1 large eggplant
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
For the Spinach Chimichurri:
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh parsley
4-7 cloves of garlic
2 T Champagne vinegar*
2 T water
1 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Slice the eggplants on the diagonal in long, thick pieces, set aside. Add the quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Meanwhile combine the remaining quinoa ingredients adding the oil last in a slow and steady stream while whisking it into the other ingredients to make a vinaigrette, set aside until quinoa is cooked then stir the vinaigrette into the quinoa to evenly coat.
Add all the chimichurri ingredients to a food processor except the extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse until the spinach, parsley and the garlic are well chopped. Add the oil slowly while processing. Set aside.
Pan-sear the eggplant by heating coconut oil* in a large skillet set on medium-high heat and laying the eggplant slices in the pan. Sear on one side several minutes until evenly browned, flip and sear the other side. This will need to be done in a few batches. Serve the eggplant on the quinoa topped with the spinach chimichurri and sprinkled with the red pepper dices. Makes about 5 to 6 servings.
©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com