This salad is delightful as is for lunch or dinner, but could be rounded out with some grilled chicken or shrimp to complete the meal.
I am a big fan of farro I love that it holds up to a salad dressing and doesn't get mushy. It's a chewy nutty grain that's loaded with good nutrition. Rich in fiber, protein, iron and magnesium.
The nuttiness of the farro is combined here with the sweet creaminess of the roasted eggplant and cannellini beans, the freshness of peas and tomatoes and a tart lemon vinaigrette. Yum!
If you're not cooking your rice or grains with chicken stock instead of water, please start. In doing so the grain absorbs the taste of the stock and just elevates the whole thing to another level.
When roasting eggplant, it acts like a sponge to oil, I spray it well with olive oil spray to moisten and then add my 3 Tb of olive oil and toss to coat. Roasted eggplant turns into soft creamy perfection when roasted.
If you make this in the spring by all means use fresh peas, actually I feel like Trader Joes has been carrying fresh peas more regularly. Frozen peas are great though, I always have them in my freezer to toss into pastas or defrost for salads.
This salad honestly gets better as it sits like any pasta or grain salad does. So make a batch and nibble.
Roasted eggplant farro salad
2 cups farro
4 cups chicken stock
Bring stock to a boil, add farro cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
1 eggplant peeled and chopped
3 Tb Olive Oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning (I love the new Mccormicks basil, oregano and sea salt mix)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 15oz can cannellini beans drained
3 green onions chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/4 fresh parsley
1 cup defrosted frozen peas or fresh raw peas
1/2 feta cheese crumbled
While farro is cooking, pre heat oven to 375 line a baking sheet with parchment. In a bowl add chopped eggplant spray well with olive oil spray, toss to coat. Add 3 Tb olive oil, Italian seasoning and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, toss well. Roast for 35-45 minutes stirring once until golden and soft.
In a large mixing bowl add all the rest of the ingredients except the feta, add cooked farro and roasted eggplant and mix well with lemon vinaigrette, and feta.
Simple lemon vinaigrette
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 Tb honey
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk all ingredients except oil together to dissolve the honey, then slowing whisk in olive oil.