Quinoa, Roasted Eggplant and Apple Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

28 Ratings
Recipe courtesy ofGiada at Home

Total: 1 hr 40 min Cook: 1 hr 15 min

Yield: 6 servings

Level: Easy



  • Vinaigrette:
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • Salad:
  • One 14.5-ounce can vegetable broth (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-grain quinoa, preferably organic
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • One 1 1/4-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large Honey Crisp or Golden Delicious apple, unpeeled,cored, quartered
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted, or 1/3 cup roasted saltedsunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large bunch watercress


  • For the vinaigrette: Toast the seeds over medium heat in a heavy medium skillet, stirring occasionally, until the seeds darken in color and become fragrant, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Place the seeds on a plate; cool for 1 minute. Grind the seeds finely in a small food mill or grinder. 

  • Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and the toasted seeds until thick and blended in a small bowl. Stir in the shallots. Set the vinaigrette aside.

  • For the salad: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

  • Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Mix in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand, covered, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool and fluff with a fork.

  • Meanwhile, spray a large rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Toss the eggplant with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper on the sheet. Roast until tender and browned, stirring once, about 30 minutes. 

  • Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Add the vinaigrette, eggplant, apples, walnuts and cranberries. Toss to blend.

  • Cover the bottom of a shallow platter with the watercress. Spoon the salad on top and serve.

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28 Ratings

This recipe is a big hit with everyone I've served it to! Serve it at room temperature to better taste the individual salad ingredients. The vinaigrette spice blend and use of shallots instead of red onion gives a boldness and slight sweetness that is undeniably special. Try substituting roasted winter squash for the eggplant. I've made it and enjoyed it both ways - with eggplant and with squash. Orange squash adds color, has an earthy flavor like eggplant, and pairs nicely with the apple, etc. I also prefer to use the sunflower seeds that I pan roast and add just prior to serving. See All Reviews Post Review

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