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Roasted Eggplant and Brown Rice Salad

This healthful salad makes terrific picnic fare and an easy mid-summer lunch or dinner. Keeps, tightly sealed, in the fridge for up to a week.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (uncooked) long-grain brown basmati rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, diced small
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 oil-cured black olives, pitted and minced
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (yummy, but optional)
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  • Bring two cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 40 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle. On a large rimmed baking sheet, place the diced eggplant, onion, and garlic. Sprinkle with two Tablespoons of the olive oil, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  • Pour the rice, roasted eggplant mixture, olives, feta (if using), basil, and chickpeas (if using) into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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