This is truly one delicious and nutritious dish. Quinoa is one of the few grains that can boast of being a complete protein. Sheet-pan roasting the veggies makes for a light, flavorful version of... ratatouille, the classic French summer vegetable stew. Choose small, firm zucchini and the small, slender Asian eggplants if you can find them — they don’t need to be salted and sweated before cooking. If you like spicy food, swap the red pepper for a couple of dark green poblano peppers. For even cooking, cut the vegetables into similar-sized pieces. As the seasons change, you can change up the roasted vegetables and herbs you use. It’ll always be good!
Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large bowl. Tip the eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, and garlic into the bowl and mix with your hands to coat them with oil. Spread them out in a single layer onto a couple of baking sheets. Sprinkle with sea salt. Tip the tomatoes into the bowl to coat with any remaining oil and add to the other vegetables, skin side down.
Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes on a high shelf. Turn with a spatula to mix and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft, golden, and caramelized around the edges. If the peppers cook faster than the rest, remove them from the tray and set aside.
While the vegetables are cooking, put the washed quinoa, parsley sprig, and scallions into a saucepan with a lid. Add the 4 cups of water and 1 tsp of olive oil and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside, covered, until you are ready to use it.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the shallots and saute slowly until they turn golden and caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, cook for a minute and then, if they are ready, add the roasted vegetables to the pan. Toss to mix. Cook for a minute and check the seasoning. Add the basil and toss to mix again. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the herbs and scallion greens from the quinoa. Fluff with a fork and tip onto a platter. Make a well in the center and tip the roasted ratatouille into it. Garnish with some basil leaves and serve.
If you’re making this for a summer BBQ, you can cook the oiled veggies on heavy foil laid directly on the grill. Keep an eye on them as they will cook a bit faster than in the oven.
You can substitute the cherry tomatoes in this recipe for 6-8 small ripe Roma tomatoes if you prefer. Just halve them lengthwise and add them in. You can also make quinoa ahead of time — it will keep in the fridge for up to five days. It’s great to have on hand for an easy side or salad, or to make our yummy Quinoa Breakfast Porridge.