Electric Lunchbox #12: Quinoa and Ground Beef with Eggplant and Tofu

I figured I should make something healthy today as I’ve been baking and cooking and eating a lot during this pandemic.

I always have different grains in my pantry and found this tricolor Quinoa we got from Peru the last time we were there. It looks so pretty with all the colors.

When cooking quinoa, always remember to rinse thoroughly before cooking, otherwise it tends to taste soapy. This step removes the saponin on the outside of the grains. I usually do this by placing the quinoa in a fine meshed strainer and combing my fingers through it under running water. You could also rinse them in a bowl with plenty of water, drain and repeat.

I also wanted some tofu and vegetable main dish so I quickly put this recipe together. It is loosely based off a dish I had in Chinatown in Binondo, Philippines ages ago. That dish had eggplants and ground beef and is a mix of sweet and spicy.

Try this dish and let me know what you think!

*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml.*

Big bottom bowl:

2 cups ground beef

2 tablespoons chopped onions

2 handfuls cubed eggplant

2 handfuls cubed tofu

1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soysauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes(adjust to taste)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups water

Green onions, to serve

Top bowl:

2 cups quinoa, rinsed very well in a strainer and drained

2 cups broth or water


Place all the listed ingredients for the bottom bowl, except for the green onions, in the big bowl that came with the lunchbox. Make sure NOT to pack the ground beef in. Mix everything lightly.

Then place the quinoa and water/broth in the little nesting top bowl. Place this over the big bowl and put the entire set up into the base.

Add 2 cups water in the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 48 minutes.

Carefully open the ELB and check the meat and quinoa if they’re cooked thoroughly. Add more water to the base if necessary.

Mix the quinoa to loosen up the grains.

Mix the found beef and eggplant, top with chopped green onions, and serve hot with the quinoa.


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4 thoughts on “Electric Lunchbox #12: Quinoa and Ground Beef with Eggplant and Tofu

  1. Laura October 20, 2021 / 8:25 pm

    Hi, just wanted to clarify. Is 48 minutes the cooking time for the whole dish? Thanks!

  2. Theresa Pizarro October 21, 2021 / 6:41 am

    Hello! Yes, I updated the recipe with an easy to follow procedure. My lunchboxes steam for about 45-48 minutes with 2little cups of water. Your lunchbox might steam hotter, faster or the opposite. I would suggest timing it.
    Please make sure the beef and quinoa are cooked through.
    Thank you for visiting! 🙏

  3. ladyagie October 26, 2022 / 5:49 pm

    Hi! I was wondering what the nutritional values are for this dish. It looks delicious but I’m on a very strict low carb high protein diet.

    • Theresa Pizarro October 26, 2022 / 5:57 pm

      Hello! I never really checked, however I know there are some apps that you can enter the ingredients in and calculate nutritional values based on number of servings.

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