After successfully completing my 14 day detox (all vegan, no alcohol, no caffeine, no pasta, no bread, no fun), I have to admit I was feeling a little bit tired of salad. But not wanting to just dive back in to eating whatever the hell I wanted, I decided to persevere and hunt around for recipes that packed a little more punch than the standard, garden variety salad. That’s when I came across this cheeky Mediterranean number over at cookieandkate, and I think I have to say, yep, I’m calling it — this might just be one of the best salads of all time.
Think fresh flavours of mint and basil, combined with the earthy goodness of roasted eggplant and zucchini, plus a few bonus treats (read: cheese!) A total winner in my book, plus it keeps really well in the fridge for 3-4 days — perfect for lazy lunches. That said, it’s best served at room temperature so be sure to grab it out of the fridge before you’re ready to eat.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup cooked quinoa (or 1/3 cup uncooked)
1 small eggplant, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
25g crumbled feta
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C and line two large, rimmed baking trays with baking paper.
Divide the diced eggplant and zucchini between the two trays, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil and toss — you want just enough to lightly coat the vegetables, not drown them. Season with salt and pepper, then roast for about 30 minutes, until the veggies are softened and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Toast the pine nuts in a small frypan over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are lightly golden — about 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, then transfer to a bowl to cool.
In a large serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and garlic. Slowly pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil while whisking constantly to emulsify the dressing. Add the tomatoes, basil, mint, olives, roasted vegetables and pine nuts, gently stir to combine, then stir through the cooked quinoa and crumbled feta. Season generously with salt and pepper, and get ready for a trip to flavour town.
Serve at room temperature.
Makes 4-6 servings.