I recently returned home from a month-long journey that took me from Houston, TX to the suburbs of Detroit, MI. What I am willing to do for yoga…drive 20 hours, share a hotel room with other people for more than three weeks, wake up at the crack of dawn…and love (almost) every minute of it.
I had the privilege of studying what I love with 39 other people who love yoga as much I do. And when you get that many people together focused on a common purpose, great things happen. We laughed, we cried, we sweat (a lot), we danced, we sang and we bonded in an amazing way. I’m so happy to say that I have brothers and sisters all around the country that I shared this life-changing experience with.
Another thing we did was eat some pretty delicious mediterranean food. Who knew? Detroit is home to some incredible food. Maybe food tastes better after you’ve done a ton of yoga (or meditated for 8 hours or sat in a sweat lodge), but all I know is that I loved it. We had, among other things: dolmas; lentils and rice; cucumber tomato salads, hummus and baba ganoush. Of course, I was inspired to make some of this at home.
First I started reading recipes for dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and um, they looked a little more complicated than what I had time to do. So I took a little shortcut (hack if you will) and decided to throw a bunch of dolma ingredients into a salad. I chose farro for the grain, but you could use rice instead, especially if you want to make it gluten free.
This worked out so great. It was the taste of dolmas without all of the work of having to roll the grape leaves. I just chopped the grape leaves and threw them in with the other ingredients. Super yummy.
Then I whipped up some baba ganoush which is similar to hummus but made with eggplant. It has this compelling smoky flavor and smooth consistency. I love it so much! I started by charring the eggplant on my gas stovetop.
It takes about 5 minutes to char all of the skin. You could probably do this longer if you like, but my house was starting to smell of smoke so I bailed. Then I roasted the charred eggplant for about 20 minutes in the oven to further soften the inside flesh. Next I blended the eggplant with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in the food processor. I added a little smoked sea salt and a tiny amount of liquid smoke because I really wanted that super smoky flavor.
I served the salad with a scoop of baba ganoush and a lemon slice. It was just about the perfect meal after an evening of teaching yoga. And as a bonus it made me think of my time in Michigan and the wonderful connections that I made there. Sending much love to my fellow Yoga Teacher Training friends near and far. May all beings be happy and free.
Farro Dolma Salad
1 cup cooked farro or brown rice, prepared according to package directions
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
6 artichoke hearts, chopped
1-2 roasted red peppers, chopped
4-6 grape leaves, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins or currants
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp greek seasoning
1/4-1/2 tsp agave nectar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Baba Ganoush (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, combine cooked farro, lentils, artichoke hearts, chopped peppers, pine nuts and raisins. Toss to combine.
In a small jar, add olive oil, lemon juice, greek seasoning and agave to taste. Shake to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add dressing to farro mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Serve with scoop of baba ganoush and a wedge of lemon.
1 medium eggplant
2 Tbsp tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove of garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Char outer skin of eggplant over open flame on a gas stove for about 5 minutes. Transfer eggplant to a baking sheet and roast 20 minutes or until tender.
Peel and discard skin from flesh of eggplant and place eggplant into the bowl of a food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Process until beginning to combine. Add olive oil through tube and combine until very smooth. Add sea salt and about 6 drops of liquid smoke to taste if desired.