Something I aim to have in our fridge at all times are lunch options. We both work at a University, so not having to spend money every day buying lunch adds up quickly. Even though there are only two of us in the house, it is rare when I cook just enough food for two people for dinner. Usually I make enough for four so we will have leftovers for lunch the next day. It also makes the morning routine go smoothly since we aren’t worried about preparing ourselves lunch. It’s already packed up from the night before.
Every now and then I do only make enough food for dinner. For example we didn’t have leftovers from the steak salad – all that steak got snatched up. For those days when no dinner leftovers are to be found, I try to have another option ready to go. I have found making big batches of grain salads really hit the spot. They are so versatile, I can throw any combination of veggies, beans, dressing, etc, into them and voila, I have a healthy, filling lunch option. Grain salads are an amazing vegetarian option. They can also be used as a side dish for dinner, and served hot, room temp, or cold. Did you grill up some chicken last night and have some leftover? Throw that on top. It is hard to go wrong here.
I have an old baking sheet that I only use for roasting veggies – I find I get a better crust on them. I also use cooking spray for the veggies because I don’t want them to get too oily.
You can also add other veggies – if you have half an onion sitting in your fridge, chop it up into 1/2 inch pieces and roast with the other veggies. You could add peppers, squash, or any root vegetables. Note that if you do use squash or root vegetables, those will need longer roasting times.
A note on seasoning. It is always better to under season at first, especially with salt. Taste your food as you go because you can always add more salt. If you over salt, that is hard to fix. When I made this recipe, I added some more salt right at the end. Salt can really bring out the flavors in the foods you use, so don’t be afraid of it! But don’t go overboard – no one wants a mouth full of seawater.
Farro with Roasted Veggies
8-10 oz farro (I used an 8.8 oz bag of quick cooking farro from Trader Joe’s)
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 small bunch or 1/2 large bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes
cooking spray (a little olive oil can be used here if you don’t have spray)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large handful parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, line a baking sheet with parchment if you want. Spray baking sheet (lined or not) with cooking spray. Place cut eggplant, asparagus and cherry tomatoes on baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss veggies around with your hands to evenly coat. Roast veggies in oven for 10 minutes, then take them out to stir them around. Put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
While the veggies are in the oven, cook farro according to package directions. Drain any excess water. Put farro in a large bowl. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to the bowl. Once the veggies are done roasting. Add those to the bowl.
To make dressing, juice 1 lemon into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the 1/4 cut olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic clove, salt & pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake! After all ingredients look mixed, taste the dressing and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Add dressing to the farro mixture and stir.
Add chopped parsley to the bowl and stir again. Taste the salad and add more salt or pepper if you think it needs it. If you want the salad to have a more vinegary kick, add some more vinegar! This salad can be tweaked with to fit your liking. Enjoy!