Mediterranean Madness Salad
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces orzo
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 4 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped into small 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium size cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (1/4-inch pieces)
- 16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped fine
- 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts (1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons liquid from marinated artichoke hearts
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 to 5 Romaine lettuce leaves
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, toss cubed eggplant with the garlic and oil. Spread on sheet pan and place in preheated oven. Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally for even browning. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions and drain. Remove eggplant to a large nonmetallic bowl. Add pasta and stir in 1/2 cup of feta while pasta and eggplant are still warm. Set aside to cool while preparing other ingredients.
Add in the rest of the ingredients except the romaine and gently stir to combine, adding remaining feta cheese last. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for 1 hour and serve on a bed of romaine on a large platter.