When I was young, my mom published a few travel books about Oklahoma. This was back before you could even Google, “How to self-publish a book,” and find answers. She made those books happen, though, and I got to sit shotgun on our way to book signings. Back then, all I wanted to do was read, so I’d get lost in the children’s section while she sold and signed books.
I know how much goes into self publishing—writing a book is a feat in itself, so to take on the printing, distribution and marketing as well is a major accomplishment. Huge, really!
Anna Watson Carl did it all when she self-published her lovely cookbook, The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings, which is the source of this salad recipe. She documented the process on her blog (also called The Yellow Table) and you can read a summary of it on Design*Sponge.
So today, I’m tipping my hat to Anna and sharing this incredible quinoa salad from her book. It’s simple and fresh and just perfect for late summer. She combined ratatouille vegetables with quinoa and Mediterranean flavors. Leftovers are so good, I just ate them for breakfast! Hurry and make this one before summer ends.
- ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (or 1 cup cooked quinoa)
- 1 small eggplant (about ¾ pound), diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 small yellow squash (or another zucchini), diced
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste (about 1 medium lemon)
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ cup halved grape tomatoes (quarter any larger tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- For garnish: crumbled feta, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash between the two baking sheets. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss. Add a little more if necessary; you want enough to lightly coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the veggies are softened and beginning to brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Set the roasted vegetables aside to cool.
- To cook the quinoa, combine the uncooked quinoa with ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.
- To toast the pine nuts, cook them in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they're turning lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn. 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 mixture. Add the tomatoes, quinoa, basil, mint, roasted vegetables and pine nuts, and gently stir to combine. Season generously with salt, pepper and maybe another squeeze of lemon, to taste. Garnish with crumbled feta, if you'd like. Serve at room temperature.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Skip the feta. You might like to add some sliced, pitted Kalamata olives to make up for feta's salty punch.
Make it nut free: Technically, pine nuts are seeds, not nuts. If you're sensitive to them, though, omit them!