Roasted Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Farro Salad with Walnut Mustard Dressing

Roasted Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Farro Salad with Walnut Mustard Dressing

You know the saying "April showers bring May flowers"? Of course you do. Everyone has heard it at least once in their life.

Well, I never understood who actually came up with it or where it actually applies since California almost never sees rain in April. Granted, I grew up in southern California where there is far less rain than northern California, but in general, the rain is pretty much over by March.

You guys, I don't think the rain is ever going to leave. Every morning I open my phone, check the weather forecast and hope for a change in the weather system shifting all the gloominess up to Washington (where it belongs). Today, like every other day, I check the stupid weather (<--I'm getting irritated, can you tell?) and what's forecasted? RAIN! The 10 day forecast shows rain everyday except 2 days!

What the EFF!

If I could just stay inside and and take moody photos, run on a treadmill and chat it up with you guys, well, it wouldn't be a big deal. But, given that I'm a mom and all, I actually have to put on pants during the day and leave my house. Although Octavian is in school until mid-afternoon, that still leaves several hours of play time. When it rains we have 3 options- a bounce house place, a trampoline place or home.

I may as well just hand over all my money to the bounce house place because we have been there so much and it's a complete rip off. But my child loves it. That said, he's so comfortable there now, he gets bored and looks for trouble. He also thinks all the toys that even remotely resemble lawnmowers or gardening equipment are his and claims a table as his "gardener truck". The whole thing is both hilarious and super annoying all at the same time since someone usually ends up in tears.

We have never been to the trampoline place. I have to practically sell my soul (or something else) to let my kid play there for 30 minutes. Thanks, but no thanks.

And then there's home. We love home. Home is great. And on some days when he is particularly tired we will just come home and relax with Clifford. But on the days we don't, unless I am actively playing with him every single second, he will get into trouble. And since I have a really hard time playing for long periods of time, I often read to him. We both love a good story time sesh. Until we both fall asleep...

The struggle is real, you guys. Life is tough (<---insert sarcasm) Parents what do you do to stay sane when it's rainy? 

So food.

I cooked up this salad a while ago on another rainy, gloomy afternoon. I was in the mood for something comforting without all the typical classic comforts like cheese and cream. Ok, so a little cheese is always a good idea, but I wasn't looking for goopy piles of cheese. I am all about salad (fresh salads, warm salads, noodle salads...) with a fruity surprise. The crisp, fresh sweet paired against the earthy flavors of this salad work like magic. Add a little crumbled feta and you may find yourself with a new favorite rainy day salad :) 

I highly recommend the long cook time for the caramelized onions, but if you're short on time, just cook them as long as possible. Caramealized onions are rich and buttery and sweet and O M G so good!

 

Roasted Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Farro Salad with Walnut Mustard Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 serving
Type: Vegetarian, Salad, Healthy

Ingredients

2 small eggplants, chopped into small cubes
olive oil
salt + pepper
2 yellow onions, cut into think strips
2 tablespoons butter
1.5-2 cups farro, cooked according to package instructions
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 cups red grapes, halved
1/3 cup toasted pistachios
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

FOR THE DRESSING
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup water, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
salt + pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cubed eggplant on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine (the eggplant will not be coated in oil since it is such a great absorber). Roast the eggplant until tender and golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.
  3. For the onions, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to the skillet followed by the onions, trying not to crowd the pan. Mix well to coat. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook your onions for approximately 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the onions are deeply browned. Here is a fantastic, step-by-step tutorial.
  4. Cook your farro according to package instructions (I used quick cook farro from TJs).
  5. Once farro has finished cooking, drain any additional liquid and immediately add the spinach. Toss the spinach with the farro as the heat and steam will help wilt the spinach.
  6. Once the eggplant and onions have finished cooking, add them to the farro and spinach along with the chopped parsley, pistachios, grapes and feta. Gently toss everything together to combine.
  7. To prepare the dressing add the walnuts, olive oil, white wine vinegar, water, dijon mustard, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl of your blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste and add additional water to thin, if desired.
  8. Divide salad between desired number of bowls and drizzle with the dressing.

Enjoy!

Recipe inspired by The Whole Bite  <--Seriously, her blog! One of my favs!

I tried Blue Apron | Here's what it looked like.

I tried Blue Apron | Here's what it looked like.

Baked Chicken Fajita Roll-Ups

Baked Chicken Fajita Roll-Ups