Add this tasty recipe to your roster of packed lunches for a healthy alternative to your usual baons. Don’t be intimidated with the spice mixes and vegetables as you can use substitutes that are available in your local grocery market.

Makes 5 cups or 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 small cauliflower, chopped into small florets (1 cup)
1 eggplant, chopped into 1/4” thick half moon slices (1 cup)
1 big or 2 small bell peppers, seeded and medium diced (1/2 cup)
2 native tomatoes, medium diced (1 cup)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil

Spice mix:
1 tsp mild paprika
1 tsp dry cumin
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 cup dry quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1 425-gram can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 1/3 cups)
1 onion, diced
3 tbsp lemon or calamansi juice, or to taste
1/2 to 1 cup fresh cilantro or pasley (leaves and stems), minced Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking / parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the cauliflower, eggplant, bell pepper, and tomatoes with the oil and spice mix. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes or until caramelized and browned. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa: place the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat then simmer on medium-low until cooked through and the water is fully absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a dish and let cool to room temperature.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix the roasted vegetables, cooked quinoa, chickpeas, and onion together. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and cilantro; mix thoroughly and adjust for salt and pepper accordingly.
  5. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

 

Notes:

  • You can substitute the dry quinoa and water with 2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice. Brown rice is hard when eaten cold so the salad would have to be eaten room temperature or warm.
  • Feel free to play with the spice mix. Make it more Italian by substituting the cumin with thyme or basil and the fresh cilantro with fresh basil or a small handful of fresh thyme or rosemary.
  • You can use whatever vegetable you have on hand as long as it’s roastable, such as: squash, radish, sayote, broccoli, carrot, string beans (use a total of 3 1/2 to 4 cups fresh vegetables)
  • You can substitute the chickpeas with other cooked beans or legumes, like kidney beans, white beans, black beans, or lentils.