This hearty and healthy salad works great as a side dish. But it’s also satisfying enough to serve as a main course and makes 6 to 8 generously sized main dish portions. It’s a super choice for vegetarians – the quinoa and parmesan add a nice protein punch. If you want to make it vegan, just leave out the cheese.
For the quinoa salad:2 uncooked cups quinoa (You’ll cook it according to the package directions)1 red onion, peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks2 small eggplants, diced into 1 inch chunks3 large tomatoes, cut into chunks2 T olive oilSaltPepper2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced10 cherry (or small) tomatoes, quartered12 Spanish olives, sliced1 cup grated parmesan cheeseFor the vinaigrette:1/2 cup olive oil1/2 cup red wine vinegar1 T lemon juice1 T dijon2 T fresh basil, chopped1 T capersSaltPepperCrushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 425.
Place chopped onion, eggplant, and large tomato chunks onto a rimmed baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and mix with large spoon to coat with oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix again. Place vegetables in oven and allow to roast until well cooked, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
While vegetables are roasting, cook the quinoa according to the package directions. After cooking, fluff with fork and place into large salad bowl to cool.
Make the vinaigrette. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard together in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Stir in capers and basil.
Top cooked, cooled quinoa with roasted vegetables, raw cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, and sliced olives. Pour vinaigrette over. Toss to mix thoroughly and put salad in refrigerator until ready to serve. If desired, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the salad just before serving.