Winter Farro Salad combines the nutty grain with peas, arugula, red pepper and onion with a fresh lemon vinaigrette.
Farro, the ancient Mediterranean whole grain with a nutty, chewy flavor and texture, is a great addition to the super-healthy brown rice and quinoa you’ve already incorporated into your diet. Farro shows up on fashionable restaurant menus all over town in creative risottos, laid under roast chicken, added to stuffings, scrambled with eggs, sprinkled in salads and stirred into thick soups. You can do this at home, too.
Cooking farro is a painless, inexact science that we appreciate. Unlike brown rice where the ratio of water to rice is critical, farro simmers in plenty of boiling salted water like pasta. It couldn’t be easier. Cook until pleasantly al dente and drain. In the supermarket you’ll most likely find pearled farro, which takes about 20 minutes to cook. Just follow the package directions. We don’t measure the water, just cover the farro with about 1 inch of water, add a generous pinch of salt and simmer at a low boil.
Cook up a big batch and store in the refrigerator for all kinds of applications. It keeps well for a several days and freezes well in a cooked state.
For our Cheater Chef Winter Farro Salad we combined the grain with at-the-ready frozen green peas, colorful bell pepper and arugula and tossed it with fresh lemon vinaigrette. A finely shredded hard cooked egg, some nutty grated Parmesan cheese or crumbles of smoky bacon (or all three) definitely kick the salad up a notch.
- 1 cup farro, cooked according to package directions and cooled (about 2 cups cooked)
- 1 cup frozen peas, cooked until just thawed, drained and cooled
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (about ½ a large pepper)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 3 to 4 ounces baby arugula or spinach (about 4 handfuls)
- About 3 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic mashed into a paste with ½ teaspoon salt
- Coarse black pepper, to taste
- 1 hard cooked egg, shredded with a grater, optional
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (about ¼ cup), optional
- 4 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, optional
- Combine the farro, peas, bell pepper, onion and arugula in a large salad bowl. Toss well.
- Drizzle with enough olive oil so that the salad shimmers, but is not oily. Toss.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and garlic. Drizzle the lemon juice over the salad and toss, Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Scatter with egg, Parmesan cheese and bacon as you like.