Quinoa and grilled vegetable salad with tahini dressing

Quinoa and grilled vegetable salad. (Sept. 5, 2013)

Quinoa and grilled vegetable salad. (Sept. 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

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Makes 4 servings.

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into quarters

2 small eggplants (about 1 pound total)

2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided


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1 small onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

1/4 cup well-stirred tahini

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

1. Preheat gas grill to medium-high. Place pepper, eggplants and zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Grill, covered, turning every 5 minutes or so, until vegetables are lightly charred on the outside and eggplant and zucchini are softened (the pepper will probably take about 10 minutes, the zucchini and eggplant 13 to 18 minutes). Remove from heat, let cool slightly and cut into bite-size pieces.

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2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add quinoa and stir another minute.

3. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes longer.

4. Place the tahini in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in lemon juice and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dressing is thick but pourable. Whisk in lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer quinoa to bowl. Stir in vegetables and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 1 day and let come to room temperature before serving.

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