Confession: We have a love-hate relationship with eggplant. It’s usually bitter and a little too soft for our liking. But Samah Dada’s miso-tahini-glazed roasted eggplant with farro (from her new cookbook, Dada Eats) is proof that the vegetable doesn’t need to be fried or covered in cheese to be positively delightful.
“This recipe is one of my methods for changing minds about eggplant,” Dada writes. “I roast the eggplant with olive oil so that it becomes soft and tender, which makes for a nice contrast to the farro, a grain I love for its nutty taste and chewy texture. What pulls everything together is the miso-tahini glaze, which is punchy, acidic, sweet and savory in all the right places. Let’s just say that I have a pretty good track record of eggplant converts after they try this one.”
After one bite, you can count us in that group.
Recipe from Dada Eats Love to Cook It. Copyright © 2021 by Samah Dada. Photography copyright © 2021 by Julia Gartland. Published by Rodale Books, and imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Seasoned Steamed Eggplant
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ cup farro (see Note)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
1. Roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Place the cubed eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet and toss it with the olive oil to coat. Spread the eggplant out in a single layer and roast, tossing it halfway through, until the cubes are tender and charring, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Make the miso-tahini glaze: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the miso, tahini, rice vinegar, coconut aminos, coconut sugar and sesame oil. Then, to prevent the mixture from seizing, gradually whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon, stirring after each addition, until the glaze thins and becomes smooth.
4. Cook the farro according to the instructions on the package, then transfer it to a large bowl, season it with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
5. Transfer the roasted eggplant to a medium bowl. Reserving 3 tablespoons of the glaze, add the rest to the roasted eggplant, tossing the cubes in the glaze until they are fully coated. Mix the 3 tablespoons of reserved glaze into the farro, and add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sesame seeds and toast them, stirring frequently until they are fragrant and browning slightly, about 5 minutes.
7. Divide the farro among individual plates and place the eggplant cubes on top. Season with salt and garnish with parsley and the toasted sesame seeds. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, if desired.
Note: The cooking time for farro depends on what type you buy. Typically, the options are whole farro (cooks in 35 to 40 minutes), semi-pearled farro (25 to 30 minutes) or pearled farro (15 to 20 minutes). Pearled farro has no husk and most of the bran is removed, so it cooks the fastest.