The seasonal food police must be close friends with mother nature, because after experssing my intention to continue eating summer food just days ago, temperatures have plummeted and the rain won’t stop falling!
Now all I want to do is sit inside all day and eat piping hot casseroles while watching the Pioneer Woman’s new show on Food Network and flip through my newest Runner’s World magazine. Maybe if I read enough about running, I won’t actually have to lace up my shoes?
Actually, I love running in cold, rainy weather. But I do want a piping hot casserole! How about a lasagna with cheese, sauce, veggies, and… quinoa?!
So, here’s the thing. I’m a food blogger and I tried quinoa for the first time less than a month ago. It had always interested me when I passed it at Wegmans, but I never actually tried it. So when I attended the Healthy Living Summit a few weeks ago and saw keen-wah at lunch one day, I decided to give it a try. And I loved it!
Lucky for me, I left HLS with a box of Near East’s quinoa blend. You can label anything roasted red pepper flavored and I’ll probably love it. And this was no exception. But you know what made it better?
Layering it with cheeses, sauce, and eggplant!
Mmmmm. Okay. I will gladly push aside summer squash and corn if it means more dinners like this. See you next year, summer!
Quinoa Eggplant Lasagna
Swap lasagna noodles for eggplant and quinoa for a nontraditional lasagna dish that’ll have you loving every cheesy bite.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes (plus 20 minutes for cooking quinoa)
- 1 box of Near East Quinoa Blend, prepared as directed on packaged instructions (or about 2 cups of cooked quinoa)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Handful of fresh basil (about 8 to 10 leaves), chopped
- 1 small eggplant
- 3/4 cup marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, garlic powder, and basil until combined. Set aside.
Use a sharp knife to cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange half of the slices in the casserole dish. Spread half of the cooked quinoa over the eggplant; top with half each of the ricotta mixture and sauce. Layer the remaining ingredients in the same pattern. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggplant slices are tender. Allow to set 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with toasted garlic bread (because everything’s better with garlic bread).