Well, after two years, I finally made it back to Italy, and most importantly, my beloved Umbrian farmhouse. It seemed so strange when I first returned, and it felt like I had been away ten years instead of two! We used to spend six months in Italy every year, but our lives are changing, and I find at this moment when I am trying to sell a home in one state and building a new one in another, it is better if I stay closer to home in the USA at this time.
Since I am only here in Italy for one short month after not traveling for almost two years, I want to travel around a bit and play tourist. That means that I am not working on many new recipes at this time, and the food I am preparing consists of simple, primarily quick, and easy dishes.
This farro salad is one I made first a couple of months ago when I had picked three lovely eggplants from our garden. I was trying to decide what to do with them when I decided to make a salad that I could enjoy for lunch for a few days. Roasting any vegetable brings out the natural sugars giving any veggie an earthy sweetness that is delicious.
I love to use grains in my salads as a whole grain adds fiber and other nutrients and makes any salad more satisfying. Farro has a nutty flavor that pairs really well with the roasted vegetables in this salad. I topped my salad with some crumbled goat cheese, but feta cheese or ricotta salata cheese would work well also.
For added crunch, lightly toasted walnuts or pine nuts would be very tasted on this salad as well. This salad can be made ahead of time, but do not add the arugula until before serving the salad.
View of Umbria on our travels!
- 3 Cups Cooked Farro According to Package Instructions
- 1 1/2 Pounds Eggplant, Cut Into 1 1/2-inch Cubes
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, Thinly Sliced
- 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, Half Them If Larger Than An Olive
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil, Divided
- 2 Cups Baby Arugula
- 3/4 Cup Crumbles Goat Cheese, Feta, or Ricotta Salata Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
- 3 - 4 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
- Toss the eggplant cubes and onion slices with half the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the tomatoes with the remaining oil, season, and scatter on the second baking sheet.
- Roast the eggplant mixture until the eggplant has softened and starting to brown, and the onions have caramelized, about 30 minutes.
- Roast the tomatoes until they soften and the skins wrinkle, about 25 minutes.
- Place the farro in a large bowl and add the warm vegetables.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and pour over the salad.
- Toss to mix, then taste and add seasonings as needed.
- When salad has cooled to room temperature add the arugula, and gently toss.
- Scatter the cheese on top, then serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 443mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 10gSugar: 13gProtein: 19g