Note: Quinoa is a whole grain that is quick to cook, so you can prepare it while you do the rest of the recipe and it will be ready to stir in at the end. It usually comes in boxes and is available in most supermarkets.

1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ounces tomato paste (1/2 of a small can or tube)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, undrained
2 tablespoons pinenuts, or chopped nuts of your choice (optional)
3 cups cooked quinoa

Optional garnishes
lemon wedges
chopped Italian parsley
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Select a shiny, firm eggplant. Cut off the stem end. Pierce the skin in several places with a sharp knife. Set the plate on a microwave-safe dish and cook it on high for 7-10 minutes, or until it collapses. (Time varies depending on the strength of your microwave). When it is cool enough to handle, cut it into small pieces.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and spices and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is ready. Add the eggplant, chickpeas, pinenuts and quinoa and cook 5 minutes more. If desired, sprinkle wih chopped parsley and pass the lemon wedges, salt and pepper.

6 servings