Roasted Veggie Quinoa

I made this Roasted Veggie Quinoa recipe the other day as a way to use all the delicious fairytale eggplants I've been buying at the farmer's market. They're so cute and colorful; how can you resist?! I brought it to a women's church function, and had several requests for the recipe. It's very simple! After slicing the miniature eggplants in dowels or circles, I tossed them in a bowl with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then put them on two sheet pans with red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. I roasted all these vegetables until they were tender and a little charred. I then mixed them with cooked quinoa (any whole grain can work) and finished with a little more balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. That's it! The key is the type of vegetables used. Baby fairytale eggplants are crazy good in combination with juicy, carmalized tomatoes and flavorful, roasted red onion. When fairytale eggplants and tomatoes are out of season, just skip them or use another vegetable like mushrooms. Always use red onions, though. They add a sweet caramelized flavor from the roasting that makes this recipe good every time. Enjoy!
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1 Ib fairytale eggplant (about two containers from the farmer's market) 1 small red onion or half large red onion, sliced 1 red bell pepper, about 1/4 inch thick slices 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes 1 tbsp high-heat olive oil (or any high-heat oil) 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar kosher or sea salt and pepper 1 cup uncooked quinoa 2 tsp vegetable stock base (optional)


1) Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two sheet pans with a lip with silicon baking mats, parchment paper, or foil.
2) Cut off stem and slice fairytale eggplants into dowels or circles. Slice red onion in thicker slices about an inch long. Chop red bell pepper into 1/4 inch thick slices and then cut all those in half.
3) Toss eggplant pieces, red onions, red peppers, and tomatoes (or whatever vegetables you're using) with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
4) Spread coated vegetables onto two sheet pans so vegetables are in a single layer. Place sheet pans in preheated oven to roast for about 15 minutes or until tender and slightly charred. Sometimes I'll finish the vegetables with a quick broil for a little more browning, but it's not necessary.
5) Cook 1 cup of quinoa (or other whole grain) in 2 cups of boiling water. Mixed 2 teaspoons of vegetable stock with water if desired (optional). Cook for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water has evaporated.
6) Mix roasted vegetable and cooked quinoa together in a mixing bowl. Finish with 1 more tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. I prefer it warm.