by Anna Bartels, TCM Apprentice
I feel like I’ve been making soups and stews all winter and I’m tired of them. With the spring-ish weather in the air, I’ve been craving some easy, filling salads to pack in my lunch instead. My favorite salads are those which incorporate a lot of protein using beans or grains, so I’m not hungry an hour after lunchtime.
Farro is a grain that I have recently gotten into because, while delicious and nutritious, sometimes I just can’t stomach any more quinoa! Apparently farro is one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world AND it has a lot of iron, and according to my brief research, even MORE protein than quinoa. ½ a cup of farro contains 6 grams of protein and 5g of fiber.
Many people have told me that I need to soak my farro overnight in water before I cook it, but to be honest, sometimes I’m not planning my meal the night before I make it so I have never soaked it. And it cooks just fine without soaking! Below is a recipe for one of my favorite farro salads, which I got from 101cookbooks.com. If you haven’t checked out 101cookbooks, do it now! It’s such a wonderful healthy cooking resource.
Heather’s Farro Recipe
6 cups cooked farro*
2 cups cooked yellow split peas**
1 1/2 cups peas, fresh if possible, boiled for 30 seconds in salted water and drained
a big splash of Citrus Parmesan Vinaigrette***
4 handfuls of mixed salad greens
10 spring onions, trimmed, cut in half length-wise, tossed in a bit of olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of salt and roasted on a baking sheet in a 350F degree oven for about 35 minutes or until browned (toss once midway)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped chives
In a large bowl toss the farro, yellow split peas, and peas with the Citrus Parmesan Dressing. Toss until well coated. Add the spring onions and salad greens and give the salad another (more gentle) toss, so as not to bruise the greens. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve in the big bowl or on a large platter topped with the spring onions, goat cheese, and chives.
*To cook farro: Combine farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat (I cover the farro with water by a couple inches and salt generously). Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside until ready to use.
**To cook dried yellow spilt peas: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add 3/4 cup dried yellow split peas, and cook for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, salt to taste and set aside.
***Citrus Parmesan Vinaigrette: whisk together the zest and juice of 1 orange, 1 chopped shallot, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, and 1/2 cup good quality olive oil. Salt to taste.