Makes 4–6 servings
This salad is a bit more hands-on than some of the other grain-based dishes in this book, but it makes up for it in flavor. When grilled, in-season eggplants reveal their rich silky and natural sweetness. Plus, this delicious base is high in antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage! Here they shine in a simple but aromatic salad with hearty farro grains. Fresh and dried mint add layers of flavor, and the entire combination comes together effortlessly. Keep this recipe on hand for when you really need a lunchtime showstopper.
For the Farro:
1 cup farro
2 cups water
2 fresh bay leaves
1 dried red bell pepper (optional)
1 tsp. green serrano chili powder (optional)
¾ tsp. Aleppo pepper, plus more if needed
1 tsp. dried mint
For the Salad:
1 lb. eggplant, cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced (less than ¼ inch thick)
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste
½ cup lightly chopped or torn fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
⅓ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. To make the farro, combine the farro, water, bay leaves and dried red pepper, if using, in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reducing the heat to low, cover and cook until the farro is tender, 10–25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and red pepper, drain any excess water, if necessary, and transfer the farro to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the serrano chili powder, if using, the Aleppo pepper and dried mint and stir to mix.
3. Meanwhile, to make the salad, place the eggplant and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with the sea salt and mix thoroughly.
4. Cook the mixture, turning with a spatula twice until the eggplant pieces are soft and golden brown in places and the onion slices are caramelized, 30–35 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately sprinkle the vegetables with ¼ cup of the fresh mint and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Mix well—this will soften the mint leaves and remove the bite of vinegar.
5. Add the hot eggplant mixture to the farro. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar over the salad and stir to combine. Season with additional sea salt and vinegar to taste. Garnish with the remaining ¼ cup mint and the pine nuts and serve.
NUTRITION • PER ONE SERVING
Total Fat 12g (15%)
Saturated Fat 1.655g (8%)
Trans Fat 0.005g
Total Carbohydrate 40g (15%)
Dietary Fiber 10g (36%)
Total Sugars 5g
Includes 0g Added Sugars (0%)
Cholesterol 0mg (0%)
Sodium 260mg (11%)
Protein 5g (10%)
Vitamin D 0mcg (0%)
Calcium 45mg (4%)
Iron 1.77mg (10%)
Potassium 415mg (8%)