There was a point tonight when I completely thought my dinner would consist of almonds. First, an almond cookie at work when I realized what time it was, not quite sure I'd make it home with energy to do anything much less cook. Then a handful of smoked almonds I grabbed from the store on the way home. After that I upgraded slightly to slices of mozzarella and finally I got my act together and made this tasty autumn rice salad.
I love this for the versatility. Sure, you can add in some spinach or arugula and make it a bit greener. But on nights when you're getting home at nearly 9pm, going through the pantry works just as well. And that's the beauty of it. I used some spicy olives that have been hanging in the fridge, some smoked almonds, roasted up some eggplant, some red onions and garlic. With some shaved and cubed smoked mozzarella over. It's a salad. But it's not.
Farro Quinoa Salad
3/4 c. farro
1/4 c. quinoa
1 1/4 c. water
3/4 c. red wine
1 small italian or graffiti eggplant
1/2 medium red onion
2-3 medium sized garlic cloves- in their skins
1/3-1/2 c. shaved smoked mozzarella
1/4 c. smoked or roasted almonds
1/4 c. chopped pitted olives
1 1/2 Tbl. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375. Add farro, quinoa, water and wine to a rice maker and begin cooking. Cut up eggplant into quarters, slice the red onion thinly and put in an aluminum pouch with the olive oil and garlic cloves. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until soft.
2. When farro and quinoa is done, remove and chill (this can be done ahead of time). Once vegetables are roasted add to the mixture with the mozzarella, almonds and olives. Taste for salt or pepper. You can also add a dash of red wine vinegar if the salad needs a little snap but the olives should provide enough brine (and salt).
*And if you wanted this to be vegan, simply leave off the cheese.