Charred Eggplant & Farro Salad

I’m still very much on the Italian/Mediterranean cooking kick since I came back from my trip to Europe.  Every time I travel there I’m reminded of how much cooking Mediterranean food feels natural to me.  It’s very much how I choose to cook at home, and with some fresh inspiration I’ve been whipping up a lot in the kitchen lately!

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

I’ve also been feeling the effects of traveling for an extended period of time, so I’ve been gravitating to things that are meatless, healthy, and easy.  This charred eggplant with a Mediterranean farro salad certainly fits that bill.

Farro is an Italian ancient grain that is similar to barley and is extremely high in fiber.  Kind of like big, extra chewy grains of brown rice, farro retains a really nice toothy texture when cooked.  It’s a perfect base for make ahead salads like this.

I’m personally a really big fan of the quick cooking, 10-minute farro you can buy at Trader Joe’s, and it’s what I used in this recipe.  Combine it with a light dressing and some vegetables, and you have a completed farro salad in no time.

The main event for this farro salad though is the charred eggplant.  It’s another technique I brought back with me from the Awaiting Table cooking school.  The eggplant is super thinly sliced then grilled dry on a grill pan (though a skillet would work fine here too) so it gets charred and smoky.

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

After grilling it’s finished with salt and lots of good olive oil.  I’m pretty sure you could do this any vegetable, and I’d happily gobble it up, but the sweet and mellow flavor of the eggplant really works well here.

Ready to get cooking?

Charred Eggplant & Farro Salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Farro Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked farro, preferably quick cooking farro if you can find it
  • 1 32oz box container vegetable broth or stock
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 -3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish

For the Charred Eggplant

  • 1 large eggplant
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

Start by cooking the farro for the salad, and while the farro cooks you’ll work on charring the eggplant.  This whole thing is served at room temperature, so there’s no need to perfectly try to time everything to be hot at the same time.

To cook the farro, add the broth to a large pot and add water until about halfway full.  The dressing on this farro salad is minimal, so cooking the farro in some broth will help to make sure it has flavor all the way through.  Bring the liquid to a boil, add the farro and cook according to package instructions.

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

While the farro cooks, heat a grill pan over medium high heat and very thinly slice the eggplant.  Once the pan is heated, grill the eggplant medallions until they are charred on each side and soft in the middle.  The eggplant should cook 2-3 minutes on each side.

Char the remaining eggplant and pile on a plate until almost ready to serve.  Once complete, finish making the farro salad.

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

Drain the farro once it’s done cooking, and while it’s still a little warm add the salt, olive oil, lemon zest, and white wine vinegar.  Stir to combine and let the flavors come together.  Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and the feta, and stir again.

Give it a little test and adjust the seasoning to your liking (I added a bit more olive oil 😉 ).  Finally, stir in the parsley, and the farro salad is done!

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

Combine the charred eggplant with olive oil and salt, and stir them gently to coat in the seasoning.  Depending on how large your eggplant was, you might need a little more seasoning here.  Give one of the eggplants a little taste and see if it needs more.

To serve allow each person to take some of the farro salad and then top it with the charred eggplant to their liking.  I keep olive oil, lemon wedges, parsley, and feta cheese out on the table so people can customize if they want to.

Charred Eggplant with a zippy Mediterranean Farro Salad - a perfect hearty, vegetarian meal

Bon appétit!

Farro Salad with Charred Eggplant

This Mediterranean farro salad is bright and chewy - it combines perfectly with smoky and sweet eggplant for a hearty vegetarian meal! 

Ingredients

For the Farro Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked farro preferably quick cooking farro if you can find it
  • 1 32 oz box container vegetable broth or stock
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 -3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley plus extra for garnish

For the Charred Eggplant

  • 1 large eggplant
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Start by cooking the farro, and while it cooks you'll char the eggplant.  Combine broth and water in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the farro and cook according to package instructions. 

  2. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and very thinly slice the eggplant. Once the pan is heated, grill the eggplant medallions until they are charred on each side and soft in the middle, about 2-3 minutes each side.

  3. Char the remaining eggplant and pile on a plate until almost ready to serve. Once complete, finish making the farro salad.
  4. Drain the farro once it's done cooking, and while it's still a little warm add the salt, olive oil, lemon zest, and white wine vinegar. Stir to combine and let the flavors come together. 

  5. Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and the feta, and stir again.  Give it a little test and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Finally, stir in the parsley..

  6. Combine the charred eggplant with olive oil and salt, and stir them gently to coat in the seasoning.

  7. To serve allow each person to take some of the farro salad and then top it with the charred eggplant to their liking. I keep olive oil, lemon wedges, parsley, and feta cheese out on the table so people can customize if they want to.



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