American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition

 

Loving Farro Salad

Farro Salad, the new love of my kitchen I want to share with you

Never heard of it before? It’s a little like a panzanella bread salad, but swapping out the white bread and replacing it with farro, a whole grain that is high in protein and fiber and deliciousness. Really, this is so good and easy, it just may become the love of your kitchen this Summer too.

Farro Salad

Farro with baby spinach, zucchini, red bell peppers, red onion, cucumber and feta cheese – delicious!

Farro is getting easier and easier to find, at Trader Joe’s you can buy a quick cook farro (along with barley and lentils – all also great in this type of salad) and most large grocery stores are carrying it now. Italian markets will always carry farro.

Hearty grain and vegetable salads like this are filling, nutritious, yummy, satisfying, and are good cold, room temperature and warm. They travel great and keep for days in the refrigerator. Not to mention is keeps blood sugar steady for long-term energy.

The trick to keeping this healthy is at least half of the salad must be veggies.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cook your farro according to the package directions. If the directions are written in Italian:
  2. Put 1 ½ cups farro and 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil
  3. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  4. About halfway through add 1-2 tsp kosher salt or ½ – 1 tsp regular salt
  5. When farro is tender, drain well and put into a large bowl to cool
  6. While farro is cooking:
  7. Saute any veggies you want to add cooked to the salad, like squash and peppers
  8. Blanche any veggies you are adding like green beans and broccoli (dunk in boiling water for a minute or two, then drain and put in ice water, drain again)
  9. Chop any veggies you will be adding raw like baby spinach, cucumber, and tomatoes
  10. Make your dressing; here’s one I use a lot, adjust to your taste:
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whisk together until combined

Toss it all together, and let the flavors meld for a while.

Enjoy!

How do you know which veggies to add? Really, anything you want. This salad has baby spinach, zucchini, red bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, and feta cheese. Last week’s salad had baby spinach, shallots, zucchini, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.

Things like garbanzo or cannellini beans are great in this salad. You can substitute brown rice for the farro, and use a Chinese or Thai flavor palate with shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas, green onions, mandarin orange segments and a ginger/sesame dressing.

Or a Latin flavor palate with black beans, corn, cabbage, tomatoes, red onions, jicama, avocado, peppers, and a lime/cilantro dressing. See, its easy once you pick a theme and use your imagination.

I hope you love these easy salads as much as I do. They are a great side dish with roast chicken, grilled steak or fish. They make a great lunch – quick and satisfying. And they make getting your veggies and grains easy and delicious.

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