Team Greenbelt For the Win at Ryerson Homegrown Harvest Cook-Off

This past Wednesday, five of our Greenbelters headed down to Gould Street for Ryerson University’s Homegrown Harvest Party and Cook-Off. The street was filled with farm stands, green organizations, and four teams competing in the Harvest Cook-Off. The challenge was to create and execute a recipe focusing on sustainability and using freshly grown produce from Ryerson’s own gardens. Now Ryerson is located near Yonge and Dundas, in downtown Toronto, so you can imagine this is quite a feat of urban agriculture! Our produce box came loaded with eggplants, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers, and fresh herbs. We set to work creating our Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable and Barley Salad and gave out tasting portions to the crowds. The recipe is not only delicious, but includes inexpensive staple pantry items, and can be made with whatever local, seasonal vegetables you happen to have on hand. In the end, the masses of tasters agreed, and voted the Galloping Greenbelt Gourmets the winners of the challenge. It was a great event, and we were fortunate to engage with so many students and members of the public in attendance about how Greenbelt funding contributes to supporting local food initiatives, and keeps our farmlands thriving. Way to go Team Greenbelt!

- Kelly Hughes, Education and Outreach Specialist

Team Greenbelt Roasted Vegetable and Barley Salad

1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
1 (14-oz) can vegetable stock
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
4 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F.
1. Toss eggplant, green onions, and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Place in a large serving bowl and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pot. Add barley and cook until well-coated with il, about 2 minutes. Add stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. When cooled, add to bowl with vegetables.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add to barley and  roasted vegetables. Add remaining ingredients except cheese to bowl and toss until well-combined. Sprinkle with cheese and toasted pine nuts. *Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Return to room temperature before serving