Another variation on Ina Garten’s brilliant orzo with roasted vegetables recipe. As more friends avoid wheat and gluten, it’s nice to serve gluten-free alternatives.
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 small eggplant, cut in 3/4-inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch dice
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut in 1-inch dice
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut in 1-inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
- Extra olive oil, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 pound feta, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups – crumbled also works but not quite as pretty)
- 15 fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
- Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in a mesh colander for a two or three minutes under running water. Place drained quinoa in medium saucepan with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to boil and turn to a very low simmer. Cook 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for five minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the quinoa, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the bowl. Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper and an extra drizzle of olive oil. Add feta and basil just before serving.
- Substitutions: zucchini or summer squash (watch roasting time, as squash will cook more quickly than eggplant); parsley instead of basil.
- Adds: toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds; halved cherry tomatoes; olives.
- You can easily make a day ahead of time, but save the feta and basil for adding just before serving.
- Add meat or shrimp to the dish to make a main course. Ina Garten’s inspiration for this dish came from Sarah Leah Chase, who made a lamb, eggplant and orzo salad with parsley, fresh rosemary and rare lamb chunks.
Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.