Garden Lifestyle

Farro Salad, Mediterranean-Style

Recently, someone gave me a bag of farro.

This salad is inspired by Mediterranean flavors--it is hearty and filling--a good vegetarian entree salad or could accompany any meal as a side dish.
Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Recently, someone gave me a bag of farro. I have cooked farro, which is a type of wheat berry, as well as kamut and spelt in my past, however not in a long time. So I read about farro and cooked up a pot of it and then I made the following delightfully tasty recipe for Farro Salad, Mediterranean-Style.

On the package of farro the instructions say to cook it for 30 minutes and if it is soaked overnight, cook it for 10 minutes. I do not think that this is enough time. In The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood, for Steamed Wheat Berries she recommends first toasting the grains for 5 minutes and then soaking them at least an hour or overnight and then she cooks them for an hour. I used this method and was pleased with the results.

Farro Salad, Mediterranean-Style

Although I prepared this salad with farro, it can be made with just about any grain that you like-rice, a combination of rice, barley, quinoa or even couscous or orzo. If you don’t have arugula, try using Italian parsley and basil, frilly salad mustard or other tender leafy greens and herbs. I used red onion, however any onion will do and scallions would also be tasty. I quite like the umaminess of the sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan and walnuts here. You could use pine nuts or slivered almonds in place of the walnuts, though I like the bitterness of them in this salad.

Serves 6 to 8

5 to 6 cups cooked farro or other cooked grains
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, coarsely chopped
About 1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 small red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
About 2 cups lightly packed arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried currants
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
About 3 to 4 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmigniano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
1/4 to 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
Red pepper flakes, optional

Transfer the cooked faro to a mixing bowl and drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over it, season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss to mix. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic, arugula and currants all at once.

Sprinkle the lemon zest overall, lemon juice, soy sauce, balsamic and the rest of the olive oil, season with a little more salt and fresh pepper and toss all of the ingredients together.

Add the cheese and walnuts and red pepper flakes if desired and toss. The salad can be served right away or allowed to sit for up to an hour before serving; generally I add the nuts just before serving so they don’t get soft.

If any salad is left over, refrigerate it and allow it to come to cool room temperature before serving.

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