Last night, I threw together another quinoa salad. I needed some comforting, and I knew a quinoa salad would do it. This time, I roasted an eggplant and a couple of tomatoes, tossed in some basil and diced spring onions, and served it up with a creamy lemon dressing. It was good, both warm and cold, but especially warm, I think the cold version could have used some baby spinach tossed in for good measure. It was comforting, but I did still resort to ice cream and hot fudge later in the evening… and then nachos and a hard cider even later… not really the way to look good in a bathing suit this summer.

The quinoa salad I made had lots of flavor, which was not true, sadly, of the Lucky Green Tea Quinoa bowl that I had at R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill the other day. A friend and I decided to check out R. Thomas’ because they have a fairly extensive range of gluten-free options and their chef really pays attention to his ingredients. The first thing I noticed about R. Thomas’ is that this is not the typical Buckhead restaurant. The side of the building is lined with birds in cages, happily singing away, and the whole restaurant seems to have been beamed in from a different planet, or maybe just Berkeley in the seventies. The menu is vegetarian and vegan friendly, but there are also plenty of free-range meat options. I immediately zeroed in on the quinoa bowls (hello, my name is Lynn, and I’m a quinoa-holic).

I had heard that the Thai Quinoa bowl was amazing, but since they let the local paper print that recipe, I plan on making it soon and wanted something different. I decided on the Lucky Green Tea bowl because it sounded interesting and flavorful. The vegetables were fresh and tasty, the quinoa was good, but I couldn’t taste the green tea or the miso. There was also supposedly some wasabi in the bowl, but I couldn’t taste even a hint of it. I mixed in a purple relish that was hanging out on the side of the plate, and that kicked up the flavor a bit, but at almost $12, I was disappointed. Still, I bet there are some real winners on their menu. My friend’s burger was very good, and so was her Raw Spicy Gingerade. Next time, I’m trying the Down Home.

R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill
1812 Peachtree St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30309

For a gluten free menu, look here. This menu is not available in the restaurant, so print it out and take it with you. I forgot to do this, but my server was quite comfortable helping me figure out what I could eat (it helps that 70% of their menu is okay… even the chicken piccatta)

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Quinoa Salad

2-3 roma tomatoes (or a cup or so of cherry tomatoes)
1 Chinese eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Classic lemon dressing to taste (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop tomatoes and eggplant into one inch cubes. Spread in a single layer on a baking dish. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until eggplant is very soft.
2. Combine quinoa and broth in a saucepan. Bring to boiling, then
reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until liquid is
2. Place quinoa in a medium bowl. Add roasted vegetables, chopped scallions, and basil leaves. Stir to combine.
3. Add creamy lemon dressing to quinoa (using somewhere between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup,) toss to coat.

Classic Lemon Dressing (makes 2/3 cup)

Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup canola oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste.

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
2. With the machine running, slowly add the oil.
3. Season with salt and pepper.