What better way to celebrate the end of summertime than with a delicious quinoa salad with sumac roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes. If you love eggplants, then this dish is for you. This Middle-Eastern influenced dish is seasoned with sumac — one of my favorite spices — one that closely resembles a lemon flavor. Take all that goodness and toss it together with a little fresh mint and roasted almonds and you have a simple, easy vegetarian recipe that is hearty enough for a delicious and satisfying meal. Win. Okay, maybe only a win for aubergine lovers.
Make your sumac roasted eggplant on the grill or in the oven
The eggplant is sliced into thick pieces, think “aubergine steaks”, and generously brushed with sumac-spiced olive oil, that soaks right into the eggplant before they’re roasted in the oven…to perfection. Mmmm. You could of course, in the spirit of summer, grill them on the BBQ or use a grill pan, which works just as well without all of the fuss of firing up the barbecue. Or do as I do, and roast them in the oven.
Variations of this recipe
I like to serve this sumac roasted eggplant with quinoa (bulgur would be my second choice)… the tomatoes are a must. I love eggplant and tomatoes together. Mint too. Almonds add some tasty crunch, but could also be subbed out with pine nuts. I whipped up herb-lemon yoghurt sauce for serving, which is entirely optional but adds another delicious level of flavor, which I adore for this dish.
And lastly, I used a mixture of Japanese and Italian eggplants for this recipe. Japanese eggplants are a little harder to find, but sometimes can be found at your local Rewe. They are sweeter and milder in taste, with a very tender flesh. My personal preference is still the classic aubergine — Italian Melanzane. And if you are looking to make this recipe vegan, a vegan yoghurt can be used for the dressing, or try serving it with hummus, or simply a drizzle of lemon juice.
How to serve Sumac Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Quinoa
This recipe makes a great vegetarian main, or can be served as a side with grilled fish, chicken or even halloumi cheese (also a great match with eggplant).
Sumac Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Quinoa
For the main dish:
- 2 medium eggplants sliced lengthwise into 4 pieces
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, seperated
- 2 teaspoons ground sumac
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (200 g)
- 350-400 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
- handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 35 g slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the yogurt sauce:
- 1 x 170 g container Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice from 1 large lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
With a sharp knife, score a criss-cross pattern on eggplant slices (cut-side). In a small bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil with the sumac. Brush the eggplant slices well with the sumac-spiced olive oil. Season with a little salt.
Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking tray, cut-side up, in a even layer and roast for 35 minutes, or until tender (check at 30 minutes, as ovens can vary slightly).
Rinse the uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Drain well. Place in a medium saucepan and cook according to package instructions, in double the amount of water for about 20 minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let stand for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the tomatoes with the vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the tomatoes to the baking tray and roast with the eggplant for the last 15 minutes of the cooking time.
While everything is cooking, prepare the yoghurt dressing. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients until well-combined. Set aside.
Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl, add the mint, almonds, and roasted tomatoes; toss to combine. Place the quinoa mixture on a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining oil and top with the roasted eggplant slices and drizzle with a little of the yoghurt dressing. Garnish with extra mint leaves.
Serve the rest of the yoghurt on the side and enjoy!
I like to use a mix of herbs for the yoghurt dressing. This can be simplified by using only mint or simply two herbs, rather than all three.
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