balsamic quinoa with eggplant and portobellas

Another quinoa recipe???

Yes. I just can’t help myself. Quinoa is so the new brown rice.

We’ve eaten it two days in a row now, in two very different preparations, and I’m happy to say you really just can’t go wrong! I got inspired to make this recipe the other day when Adam and I were at Whole Foods shopping for our barbecue. Adam was scrolling through his Whole Foods iphone app, picking out vegetarian recipes that sounded appealing to him.

They basically all involved mushrooms.

But that’s okay! Any guy that opts to replace meat with tender, juicy mushrooms is a keeper in my book. I give him credit because he’s trying really hard.

For instance, Tuesday night he sent me this photo:

Along with the subject line “Testing various veggie burgers”

I rest my case.

Now back to my quinoa.

The original recipe is from Whole Foods but I modified it a bunch and the end result was out of this world! The toasted almond slivers give it the perfect crunch and I’m loving the roasted eggplant and portobellas, which are drizzled in a super easy balsamic dressing before popping in the oven.

I learned the secret to roasting eggplant from Emily!

Basically, you cut the eggplant into large circles, sprinkle them each with salt and cover with paper towels for half an hour prior to roasting…it makes ’em less gooey and bitter!

As for the portobellas….

Just scrape out the “gills” and chop up.

The heartiness of the veggies combined with the chewy quinoa really makes this a one-pot meal that is totally boyfriend friendly.

And, for the record, I totally snuck that entire bowl of quinoa into Bridesmaids last night…along with plastic forks, knives and plates.

What? I don’t carry a huge purse for nothing.

Balsamic Quinoa with Eggplant and Portobellas

serves 4

Print this recipe!


1 large eggplant

2 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed

1 tsp salt, divided

1 cup dry quinoa

1 3/4 cup water

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp dijon mustard

1/3 cup warm water

1 clove garlic

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup almond slivers


Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Slice eggplant and lay slices on paper towels. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt on each slice and then cover with more paper towels, press down and let sit for 20 minutes to half an hour.

While the eggplant is draining, prepare your mushrooms by removing the stem and gills. Chop mushrooms and place in a large bowl.

In a measuring cup, combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, warm water and garlic clove. Pour into a blender and whirl until processed and smooth (no chunks of garlic in sight!).

After your eggplant slices have drained, chop them and toss them in the bowl with the mushrooms. Pour in half of the dressing and toss well.

Top your cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread out mushrooms and eggplant on top and place in oven to roast for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While roasting, boil together your quinoa and water until water is all absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Place quinoa in a serving bowl and top with roasted vegetables, green onions and toasted almond slivers (toast these in the oven for 3-5 minutes while the veggies are cooking). Pour on the rest of the dressing and toss well. Serve warm or cold.


1 hour

If you need me, I’ll be waiting by the door for my shoes.




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  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    June 2, 2011 at 4:44 am

    mmmm, balsamic on mushrooms…heaven!

  • Sarah
    June 2, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Looks delicious! I’ve had the black bean burgers and they’re pretty good. I haven’t tried any amy’s brand before though.

  • Michal
    June 2, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I’ve been trying to use quinoa more lately, and this recipe looks great! I can’t wait to try it! Though I had to laugh b/c yesterday in the NY Times there was a line along the lines of “because so many restaurants think they can do anything with quinoa, here are some proper recipes for it.”

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    June 2, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Looks like a refreshing summer lunch! I’ve been meaning to try more quinoa recipes, and this looks like a great one to start with!

    Adam should definitely try Sunburgers. They kick Boca’s butt!

  • Blog is the New Black
    June 2, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I heart quinoa- keep the recipes coming! I am newly obsessed with couscous, too! πŸ˜‰

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    June 2, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Oooh yumm! I put balsamic vinegar on pretty much everything, and you’re SO right about quinoa being the new brown rice – I’d choose quinoa any day!

  • Rachel @ NotRachaelRay
    June 2, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I love quinoa! This looks so good. I love the addition of toasted almonds. Have you tried quinoa pancakes? So good (on my blog if you’re interested).
    And those shoes in the last post? Oh. My. Gosh. Love!!!! If only I weren’t 5’10″….

  • Laura
    June 2, 2011 at 5:14 am

    This looks deeelicious Jenna! Making it this weekend! I’m very excited about your new veg recipes!

  • Tessa @ Amazing Asset
    June 2, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I love quinoa but my mom doesn’t seem to care for it too much. Maybe I can convince her to enjoy it with this great sounding recipe! Thank you Jenna πŸ™‚

  • Baking N Books
    June 2, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Wait a minute…you took this to the movies?!! I mean, I’m sure it was good…but…;)

    On another note – how was the movie?

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    June 2, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Isn’t it sooo nice to be dating a foodie rather than a picky guy? I’m not sure what I’d do with the picky guy (I do, I’d get rid of him). Confession though-I can’t get myself to like mushrooms. πŸ™ Help.

  • jenna
    June 2, 2011 at 5:27 am

    LOL youre so funny! i could totally see you chowing down on some quinoa in a movie theater!! this dish looks so flavorful! definitely adding it to my list! πŸ™‚

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet
    June 2, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Bahaha I need a picture of you cooking in your new shiny shoes!

    Wow I’m impressed. My boyfriend has a serious phobia against mushrooms. He get so grossed out by the texture, and the fact that it’s a fungus…

    I take your quinoa movie snack and raise you a bag of chopped carrots. Yum πŸ™‚

  • Charise
    June 2, 2011 at 5:43 am

    HAH! I always bring a little snack in with me to the movies, but I’ve never attempted an entire meal. Hilarious!

  • Anne
    June 2, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Wow veggies are really doing a huge come back on your blog, good thing !

  • Khushboo
    June 2, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Adam’s a keeper and you’re my new bff- it’s alll about smuggling food into movies!

  • Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    June 2, 2011 at 5:56 am

    lol i’ve definitely never brought quinoa to the movies with me… homemade baked goods and fro you yes, but quinoa no. Anyway, this sounds delicious!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    June 2, 2011 at 5:56 am

    absolutely love mushrooms, especially portobellos. The thought of you eating this in a movie theater is too funny!

  • Hannah (Balancing on Two Feet
    June 2, 2011 at 5:58 am

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    June 2, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Thanks for that tip with the eggplant — they always turn out so horrible for me when I try to roast them. Letting the salt soak up the liquid is a good idea!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    June 2, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Great recipe. Keep em’ coming – I need all the help with my bag of Quinoa I can get. I’m so lost!!! πŸ˜‰


  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    June 2, 2011 at 6:11 am

    This looks super hearty and delicious.

    I love Adam’s veggie burger test, but I’m sure you could make tastier ones. πŸ˜›

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food
    June 2, 2011 at 6:13 am

    haha! I love that you brought a big bowl with you I am all for the homemade snacks at movies πŸ™‚

    Go Adam! For a big meat lover he’s doing wonderfully!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)
    June 2, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Quinoa is so the new brown rice. = lol and you’re so right!

    As for sneaking food into movies, I love to. But it’s always of the chocolate variety, not savory πŸ™‚

    The recipe looks good enough to want to sneak it in, though!

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    June 2, 2011 at 6:20 am

    This is just packed with all of my favourite things! YUM! πŸ™‚

  • Elizabeth
    June 2, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I love that you snuck it into the movies! πŸ™‚

  • mel
    June 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burgers are my fav.

  • Liz
    June 2, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Hilarious that you brought it to the movies!
    Looks like I need to get some quinoa because these recipes look delish.

  • Jen
    June 2, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Adam should try Sunshine Burgers. I get them from Whole Foods and they’re my favorite brand of the frozen varieties. They also have very few ingredients. Some veggie burgers are packed with a bunch of crap to make up for the meat, but these are made hearty with brown rice and sunflower seeds. Just a recommendation! πŸ™‚

    And your quinoa looks delicious. My boyfriend is not the hugest fan of quinoa (even though he’ll eat it because he’ll eat anything), probably because it has a lighter texture than thicker grains like rice, but this dish looks like it would be pretty satisfying!

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    June 2, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Lucky you have a guy like that who’s trying! I’ve learned to stop asking my husband his opinion on us eating less meat (which we already do). His response is always, “I want meat every day!” and “I want meat more often!” and “if I lived on solely meat, I would be a happy man!” I tell him he wouldn’t be happy very long because he’d get constipated, his kidney stones would come back, and he’d be malnourished. Then he tells me I’m taking him too seriously, but I know he really means it.

  • anne
    June 2, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger (second from right) is delicious! I could eat one/day, no problem.

  • Christine
    June 2, 2011 at 7:11 am

    LOVE this recipe – I’m obsessed with quinoa (though this week I’m venturing into lentils, and very impressed) and will definitely be giving this recipe a whirl!

    PS – I laughed out loud that you snuck your quinoa into Bridesmaids πŸ˜€ I’ve done that many a time with everything from Chipotle to SmartPop. Nice move!

  • Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries
    June 2, 2011 at 7:13 am

    yum, love all the vegetables that you incorporated! quinoa is so the new brown rice πŸ™‚

  • Kiran @
    June 2, 2011 at 7:14 am

    You sold me with “sneaking food into movies” πŸ™‚

  • Running With Mascara
    June 2, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I love quinoa, too! I have been adding to almost everything lately – soups, salads, veggie burgers! It’s a wonder grain!

  • Bess
    June 2, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I love reading about how Adam is trying to embrace eating less meat. Another veggie burger he should try is the Amy’s Texas variety…has a barbecue kick to it that makes it super hearty.

  • Alejandra
    June 2, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Thanks for the tips on roasting eggplant. I’ve always wanted to use it in my cooking but could never get it the right consistency without using all that oil.

  • Mellie
    June 2, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Yum! I love mushrooms!

  • Karen
    June 2, 2011 at 7:52 am

    You know I always check in b/c I admire your talent and your unique writing voice, but I must say how thrilled I am to see you explore some different culinary ground – one that is not only more in line with my own eating style/palate, but one that shows some evolution (or to be more accurate, a return to former ground.) I am so proud of you and Adam for eating a bit more consciously – with an eye toward your short-term and long-term health – as of late. Open-mindedness and your seeker mentality is one of your loveliest attributes, Jenna. You rock!

  • Karen
    June 2, 2011 at 7:54 am

    p.s. I immediatly thought of your spilled barbecue sauce/orla keily incident…careful!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    June 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

    This sounds delicious! I haven’t had quinoa is ages… I must make this πŸ™‚

  • Susan
    June 2, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Wasn’t Bridesmaids hilarious?

    FYI, the theater behind 3rd Street Aleworks has “date night” on Wednesdays. 2 tickets, 2 small sodas and 2 small popcorns for only $10!

    • jenna
      June 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

      woahhh that’s awesome—you are such a wealth of amazing information (shoes on sale and cheap movie tickets?!)!!! love it.

      • Susan
        June 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm

        I’m full of all sorts of good info. Or so I think. πŸ™‚

        My shoes just shipped today. I should have paid the extra $15!

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)
    June 2, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I need to bookmark this one!

  • Katrina
    June 2, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Love this! So tasty.

  • Danielle @ InDeesKitchen
    June 2, 2011 at 8:45 am

    LOL! I love that you snuck that into the movies! I too thought of the barbeque sauce incident though!

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    June 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

    This looks amazing – and it is equally amazing that you snuck it into Bridesmaids!!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    June 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I’ve been having a secret love affair with quinoa for quite some time now…but I do think the other grains in my pantry are starting to catch on…

  • Natalie @ Point the Weigh
    June 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

    That recipe looks awesome! I have had a bag of Quinoa sitting in my pantry now for months….it just looks intimidating to me, and I can’t figure out why!

    I think it’s time to overcome my fear though and make these recipes!!

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen
    June 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I’m so obsessed with quinoa too. It’s sooo good. I think it’s the texture that’s so delightful.

  • Emily @ Savory and Savage
    June 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Ohh, that looks delicious! I love you added almonds and that you snuck it into the movie theater πŸ™‚

  • amanda
    June 2, 2011 at 10:48 am

    this looks tasty, but my better half won’t touch eggplant (long story) Did you like Bridesmaids??

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate)
    June 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for the tip on preparing eggplant. I’ve never had good luck with it, so I will be excited to try this method!

  • kaila @ healthy helper!
    June 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Like I said on twitter, this combines so many of my favorite foods! THANK YOU!

  • Melissa
    June 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you for the quinoa recipes! I don’t eat gluten, but love your blog! I am sooo excited to make the last 2 recipes you posted. Also, thank you for providing a good quinoa measurements, a lot of recipes just say a “serving” and that can very sooo much for quinoa. Thank you! Have a beautiful day!

  • Moni'sMeals
    June 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    this is one of the best quinoa dishes I have seen in awhile! Thanks. I am on a qunioa kick!


  • Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather
    June 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I’ll gladly take another quinoa recipe! Sounds delish πŸ™‚

  • jenna k
    June 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    that picture from adam is hilarious! i’ve been starting to test out veggie burgers as well. i almost got that flavor of amy’s burgers, but put it back because i’m trying to avoid too much soy.

  • Rachel
    June 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Your recent healthier, yummy recipes could not come at a more perfect time! I’ve been vegan for a while, but my carnivorous boyfriend just went with me to see Forks Over Knives and just started a 28 day challenge to eat more plant-based. I’m bookmarking all your meatless recipes and putting them on a rotation πŸ™‚ Also, if Adam finds a veggie burger he likes, please pass along the info, my BF will greatly appreciate it!

  • Erin
    June 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Field Roast does great vegan sausages!! perhaps other “meats” as well. Sunshine burgers are great and soyfree vegan..are yummy! Love! seeing all your new healthier recipes!! I think we all love sweets…but seeing what you eat to keep your little figure is also nice. πŸ™‚ Also, seeing the two of you transform your diets to more veg/vegan is great. I will always eat meat at little I think…..but enjoy eating veg. as much as i can. …makes me feel lighter, healthier and lots more energy! Look forward to new recipes! Would you make Seitan?? I am nervous to try……but am sensitive to soy…so want to make my own high protien source… :/ we’ll see!! Would love to see you are peamama give it a go!

  • Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth)
    June 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Looks delicious. I second Erin’s comment about Field Roast “grain meat” (non-soy, it’s vital wheat gluten AKA seitan)–very authentic-tasting sausages, loafs, and deli slices. Also, Amy’s Kitchen California and Sonoma veggie burgers are the best because they’re organic and “texturized soy protein”-/”hydrolyzed soy protein”-free (AKA, not subject to any hexane rinse, which is a big controversy with mass-produced soy protein items such as Morningstar, Boca, CLIF, etc.). Also, Sunshine Burgers (vegan and soy-free), of course, are always winners–and now come in man-friendly flavors like Barbecue and Falafel. There was a coupon for them at last month.

  • Annmarie
    June 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I would be interested in knowing the results of the taste test! I would love to coax my man-friend to try a veggie burger…

  • Amber Faye @ One "Faye" At A Time
    June 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I have never tried quinoa! I really need to though! Anyone have any good “beginner” suggestions for me!?

  • Brittany
    June 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    This looks delicious. I’ve just saved the recipe to make sometime next week!

  • d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo
    June 3, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Looks hearty and delicious – must try!

  • Julie
    June 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Looks delicious! I found you on foodgawker and was completely drawn in by your description. I love quinoa!

  • Gina (Yogattude)
    June 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Great recipe and very adaptable to whatever I may have from my CSA!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    June 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Yummy! I love quinoa because it cooks so much faster then rice. and I just plain suck at cooking rice, in general. I love eggplant too! So yummy!

  • Foodiebia
    June 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    HAHAHAHA I love that you snuck that into the theater. I usually only sneak in candy and drinks, but a full healthy meal is impressive!

  • Jessica
    June 4, 2011 at 4:24 am

    I loved Bridesmaids!!!

    BTW–the chalkboard counter thingy is super cute.

  • elise
    June 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

    amys is the best in that bunch for sure, but you should try sunshine falafel burgers. theyre the creme de la creme (yes, i just used dairy in a vegan analogy)

  • stella
    June 5, 2011 at 4:07 am

    I cooked quinoa for the first time tonight – beginning of a love affair, i feel! πŸ˜‰

  • Katie P
    June 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Oh baby Jenna you are a goddess! I just finished making this and while mine is not NEARLY as gorgeous as yours, man oh man is the flavor fantastic. My quinoa didn’t come out fluffy like yours in your photos, but I am going to devour it all the same and savor every bite.
    I really think my meat loving boyfriend is going to dig it too! Thanks for another soul satisfying recipe.

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    June 7, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I’m right there with you, I can’t stop eating quinoa either lately!

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    I made this for dinner tonight – it was great! My new favorite way to eat quinoa πŸ™‚

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  • Kate
    April 4, 2014 at 6:43 am

    This was excellent, healthy and pretty simple to prepare. Most of the labor is in prepping the eggplant and portabellas. I used baby portabellas as opposed to the large ones and roasted sweet onion w the eggplant and portabellas as opposed to adding the green onion at the end.