Have you ever met Farro? I think you’ll like him with that cool name and all.
Okay I’ll level with you and tell you “he” is actually a grain, but you probably knew that. On its own it can be a little shy but when you combine farro and roasted eggplant, it’s true food love.
Whenever I make a salad I follow a couple of basic rules. These are only rules for me, you can do it any way you like, I wont even get mad at you. The foundation of a salad for me is usually either green leaves or a grain. If it’s leaves, then the add-in’s will be on the lighter side because who likes a flat salad?
By using a grain you can mix in some heavier ingredients like these guys and you’ll still have a salad that’s just dying to be crammed into your pie hole.
I admit, my relationship with eggplant got off to a rocky start. I really wanted to like it but it wasn’t until I had baba ghanoush that I realized it had to be roasted for me to give it another chance. For this salad I threw the eggplant over the burner on my stove, you don’t need to be digging your grill out from underneath 10 feet of snow for this task.
Just keep moving it around the flame until it turns black. The eggplant will break down and start to turn soft so be careful you don’t squeeze too hard or you’ll have eggplant pulp all over your stove, not cool.
So what to do with all of that smoky roasty pulp?
Mix it into the farro along with some grilled asparagus. Grilling or roasting veggies takes the flavor to a whole new mind-blowing level.
Add some roasted red peppers, kidney beans and toasted pine nuts.
Toss with some of the za’atar spiced dressing and boom, your job is done. Except for some crumbled feta on top, every salad needs cheese.
Roasted Eggplant and Farro with Grilled Asparagus
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon za'atar spice
- 3 cups cooked farro
- 1 medium sized eggplant
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small bunch of asparagus
- 2 tablespoons toasted pinenuts
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1 1/4 cups cooked red kidney beans
- 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno
- 1/2 teaspoon za'atar spice
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup sliced roasted red pepper strips
- Crumbled feta cheese for garnishing
Place the lemon juice, olive oil and z'atar in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Cook the eggplant over a gas burner until comletely charred.
Cover with plastic wrap and then peel, chopping finely. You'll need about 1 1/4 cups pulp.
Cover the asparagus with the olive oil and then grill over a high heat, or roast in a hot oven.
In another bowl combine the cooked farro, toasted pinenuts, green onion, red kidney beans, jalapeno, za'atar, cilantro and red pepper strips.
Add the roasted eggplant and grilled asparagus to the farro mixture.
Add some of the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and black pepper and add more dressing if preferred.
Once the salad is on the plates to be served, garnish with some crumbled feta cheese.