Quinoa & Roasted Chickpeas w Eggplant, Mushrooms + Za’atar

This one-skillet meal comes together quickly for your weeknight.  Za’tar is a Middle Eastern spice and herb mixture made with sesame seeds, sumac, salt and other herbs. You can find it in specialty international markets or you can simply make on your own. I was inspired by a large bag I found at PHOENICIA market here in Houston.  I like to top this dish with a creamy tahini dressing. A flavorful hearty, yet perfectly elegant dinner.

Quinoa & Roasted Chickpeas with Eggplant, Mushrooms + Za’atar

{Yield 3-4}

1/2 eggplant, diced

extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp za’atar

freshly ground black pepper

sea salt

1 large shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 cup crimini or button mushrooms, quartered

1 cup cooked quinoa

splash dry white wine, or cooking wine

2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 large handful arugula

{dressing}

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup sweet miso

1/4 cup water

splash apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the eggplant in a bowl with the za’atar, a good drizzle of olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, adding the water slowly, until you reach the consistency of your liking. You may have to add a bit more water to get there. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat a big drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute a few minutes until shallots are translucent and aromas start to fill the kitchen. Add the chickpeas and season with sea salt and black pepper. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes, only shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas start to slightly brown and crisp up.  Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked through. Add a small splash of white wine to de-glaze the pan, scraping up any flavorful sticking bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Next, stir in the quinoa and roasted eggplant. Drizzle a bit more olive oil and gently combine until thoroughly warmed through.

Take off the heat and top with freshly chopped oregano and handful of arugula. Toss well and serve immediately. Top with tahini dressing.

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