French Beans, Aubergine and Pearled Spelt Salad

French Beans, Aubergine and Pearled Spelt Salad

Nestled amongst the mushrooms, kale and spring onions, I found some sweet, crisp French beans (grown in Enfield!) in my Crop Drop bag this week. We've been lucky enough to experience some sizzling weather for a few days so a hearty salad was definitely on the menu.

Serves 3/4 as a side dish

ingredients

For the dressing
1 garlic clove crushed
2 tbsp tahini
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
Juice of 1/2 an orange
1/2 tsp honey
Salt and pepper

For the salad
75g pearled spelt (quinoa or lentils could work well too)
1 aubergine
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
About 150g french beans, trimmed
Salad leaves
Sun-dried tomatoes
Fresh mint

method

To make the dressing, add all the ingredients together and whisk. I found I needed to add a drop of water as it was a little thick. A creamy consistency is what you're looking for.

Thinly slice the aubergine and place them in a colander with sea salt for 10/15 minutes. The reason I do this is because aubergines sometimes contain bitter juices which can be released and removed by salting. You then rinse the salt off, pat them dry and continue cooking in the frying pan until nicely browned on both sides. (Also salted aubergines soak up less oil. So when you cook them, your precious olive oil doesn't disappear in seconds! )

Rinse the pearled spelt in cold water and cook as packet instructions adding a little salt to the water for flavour.

When your aubergine is cooked season and mix it together with the lemon juice and chilli

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the French beans for a minute or so, before removing and running them under a cold tap.

Place the salad leaves into a large bowl, add the dressed aubergine, french beans, sun dried tomatoes and a small handful of chopped mint and drizzle the dressing over the top. I served this with steak and crusty bread!