Warm Caprese Grain Salad

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

After recently moving to a new neighborhood, my two housemates and I threw a little housewarming BBQ and celebration. Yay!

Tasked with the challenge of making something for a crowd that would be vegetarian, nutritious AND able to rival burgers circulating aromatics from the grill, I settled upon this rendition of caprese.

I taste-tested in advance and gave it two thumbs up. But it was still much to my surprise that the healthy caprese rice ran out before the burgers. Who would’ve guessed?

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

As with a traditional caprese salad, the flavors here are simple but fresh. Good extra virgin olive oil, zesty basil and sweet caramelization from the oven that’s bestowed upon a variety of veggies all make this dish shine. It’s delicate, yet addicting. And makes you feel good even after going in for seconds.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I opted to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add mozzarella or goat cheese. You could also play with the grain combination. Here, I chose to add in some barley with the rice, which lent?a nice and subtle crunchy element.

I also love the texture and flavor contrast created when using both roasted and raw tomatoes. If able, go with two different varieties for each, like sungolds and classic grape tomatoes, for a nice color scheme and added complexity of flavor.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I’m looking forward to more veggie and herb-centric meals in the months to come. Also a shout-out to Mastro Co. for the awesome ceramic bowl that held this veggie-filled goodness!

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Serving Size: About 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 1 lg. eggplant, cubed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (for the end)
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling veggies
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine rice, barley and water in a pot and bring to a bowl. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook 40-50 minutes, or until grains are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, roast veggies as follows.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spread eggplant out one of the the baking sheets, and the tomatoes, onion and shallots out onto the other baking sheet. Toss each with olive oil until lightly coated, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring halfway, until eggplant is tender and tomatoes are about to burst.
  4. When grains are finished, place in a large bowl. Toss with eggplant, tomatoes, onion and shallot. Stir in 1/4 cup of olive oil and fresh basil. Season generously, to taste, with coarse salt and pepper. Serve.
http://foodfitnessfreshair.com/2016/04/04/warm-caprese-grain-salad/

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