Summer Harvest with Sola Gratia Farm
Join us as we cook a delicious dish using local, seasonal produce from Sola Gratia Farm! Sola Gratia is a mission-based urban farm right here in Urbana IL. They donate 20-30% of their harvest each year to local hunger abatement organizations including Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Jubilee Cafe, Mobile Market, and Little Free Friday Market. Sola Gratia uses all organic practices to grow 125 different varieties of 50 different crops on 15 acres of land.
The class menu is:
- Roasted eggplant with cherry tomatoes & crispy spiced chickpeas
- Cucumber quinoa salad with jalapeno vinaigrette
- Tulsi basil tahini sauce with pita
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the ends off each eggplant, then slice in half. If you desire, take a sliver of the skin off the round outside edge of the eggplant to make it easier to balance.
- Place a paper towel on a large baking sheet. Generously salt each eggplant on both sides and allow it to rest. After at least 15 minutes, pat the eggplant dry with the paper towel, and remove the paper towel. This method allows the eggplant to "sweat" out some of the moisture, ensuring that it doesn't get mushy during roasting.
- Brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes, red onion, and garlic to the pan and distribute evenly.
- Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the eggplant is nice and browned, and the cherry tomatoes have begun to burst.
- Meanwhile, make your roasted chickpeas. Once the chickpeas are dry, add them to a medium-sized baking sheet. Season with olive oil, black pepper, ground cumin, salt, and smoked paprika, and mix thoroughly. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.
- To assemble: arrange your eggplant slices on a plate. Scoop up the red onions and cherry tomatoes and distribute them evenly amongst the eggplant. Add dollops of the Tulsi Basil Tahini sauce, then top with roasted chickpeas and garnish with parsley.
- Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer, then add it to a pot with water and salt. Allow to come to a rolling boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked and all of the liquid has been absorbed. Once the quinoa is cooked, move it to a medium-sized bowl and place it in the refrigerator to cool.
- Chop your cucumbers into medium-sized pieces and add them to a large bowl along with the diced red onion.
- To make the vinaigrette, place olive oil, jalapeno, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, cilantro, stone ground mustard, and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. Season with additional salt to taste.
- Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl with the cucumber and stir to combine. Add the full amount of the jalapeno vinaigrette and mix well. Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Add the tahini to a medium-sized bowl and whisk until it has a uniform consistency.
- Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Whisk until everything is combined.
- Add in the minced tulsi basil and stir until incorporated. Depending on the consistency and thickness, add up to another 1/4 cup of water.
Serve with pita bread, as well as a topping for the roasted eggplant.