Lemons and Basil

Eggplant and Quinoa Indian Fare with Naan Bread

Sometimes food just isn’t pretty.

And I think it’s fair to say that this Eggplant Quinoa Indian Fare falls into that not so pretty category. But, I’m okay with that. Because while I certainly enjoy creating a plate that is visually appealing, if the food doesn’t taste good, all is lost. And in this case, the combination of the eggplant and quinoa, accompanied with a little garlic, onion, and tomato, infused with an array of Indian spices resulted in a dish that was too good not to share. Pretty or not.

The inspiration for this dish came from Trader Joe’s Eggplant Indian Fare. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, then you likely know of the trusty food station in the back, offering shoppers the daily sample. Truth be told, it’s often the highlight of my weekly grocery trip. I am a huge sucker for free samples. {Costco on a Saturday, anyone?} And though I always try the sample in the back, rarely do I ever buy it. Typically I have a grocery list and make an effort to stick to it and our budget. But they recently had this Eggplant Indian Fare and Garlic Naan Bread as the sample, and knowing I wanted to pick up a quick and easy meal or two for the busy week ahead, I went ahead and picked up a box, along with the Naan bread.

While I’m rather new to the whole naan bread thing, it’s quickly becoming a go-to for me. It has a decent amount of protein {to be a carb}, ranging from 7-9 grams per piece, with 3-4 grams of fiber. I’ve also found it to be extremely versatile – it pairs perfectly with this Eggplant and Quinoa Indian Fare, as well as this Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry recipe I recently created {coming soon}, and it provides the perfect base for a quick veggie pizza. From what I’ve read online, it also looks to be fairly easy to make, using ingredients I typically keep on hand, I’m hoping to give a version of this recipe a try soon.

Enough about naan bread, lets talk about this Eggplant and Quinoa Indian Fare. Eggplant is one of my least favorite vegetables, it’s not that I mind the flavor so much as the spongy texture. It use to be that when I spotted the eggplant in my CSA {Community Supported Agriculture} I inwardly cringed, wishing I could ask them to swap it out, but too prideful to do so. However, I’ve recently discovered the art of roasting eggplant, then pureeing or dicing it up and blending it with a variety of other vegetables and seasonings. I’ve even pureed and blended it with my Grandma’s homemade spaghetti sauce to give it a heartier texture. And now that I’ve found a way to mimic Trader Joe’s Eggplant Indian Fare, I find I don’t mind the eggplant. In fact, the last two times I got it, I actually found myself looking forward to cooking it <– making progress here!

If you are a fan of Indian food, I think you’ll really enjoy this Eggplant and Quinoa Indian Fare, it has truly given me a new appreciation for Indian seasonings altogether. I would never have said I cared much for Indian food before, but in truth, I’ve tried very little Indian food and I’m actually quite fond of what I have tried. Funny, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a novice foodie, yet I continue to find so many things I have yet to even try. But then again, that’s the beauty of food, so many pairings, so many different ways to cook things, so many flavors yet to experience.

I think if money was of the abundance I’d end up spending a lot of it on food – interesting cheeses, rare produce, nut meals and butter, spices and seasonings…the list goes on.

Anyway, whether you consider yourself a fan of Indian Cuisine or not, I highly recommend this one! And it’s comes together with such little effort, stick the eggplant in the oven, the quinoa on the stop, chop a few veggies, throw in the spices and the meal is ready in no time!

Eggplant and Quinoa Indian Fare
This Eggplant and Quinoa Indian Fare is bursting with flavor and comes together with ease!
Recipe type: Lunch/Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • 2 small eggplant (approx 1.5 cups cooked)
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp five spice powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add eggplant to baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes {cook time will depend on the size of your eggplant}, then allow to cool to room temperature. Peel off skin and chop cooked eggplant, should be approx 1.5-2 cups.
  2. Once Eggplant has cooked, while it cools, cook quinoa according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, chop onions and tomatoes and add to large sauce pan with coconut oil and minced garlic.
  4. Cook onions and garlic clove 2-3 minutes on medium heat, then add tomatoes and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent and tomatoes have released their juices and cooked down.
  5. Add cooked eggplant and quinoa to onions and tomatoes mixture, stir until well combined.
  6. Add all seasonings to veggie mixture, stir well, then let simmer for 4-5 minutes or until flavors have thoroughly blended. While adding seasonings, add 2 tbsp - ¼ cup water as needing to help blend seasonings.
  7. Serve with naan bread.
Nutrition info does not include Naan bread.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 147 Fat: 3.5 Saturated fat: 1.6 Unsaturated fat: .5 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 26.1 Sugar: 5.9 Sodium: 226.9 Fiber: 5.4 Protein: 5.4 Cholesterol: 0