Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Farro Salad with Asparagus & Cranberries

This is a great recipe that I've made a couple of times recently, and it's been overwhelmingly well-received by everyone who's tasted it.  The added bonus is that it's vegan, very low fat, very low sodium, and no added sugar.

I am always poking around at the supermarket looking for foods that I've never cooked before, and farro was one of those.  It's an Italian wheat, and I would equate the size and texture perhaps to barley.  What I bought at Whole Foods was "pearled" farro; pearling removes the rougher outer husk on the wheat kernels, which makes it cook faster than plain farro.  If you can't find the pearled type, I would guess that you would just have to boil the farro a little longer.

2 cups pearled farro
1 lb fresh asparagus, blanched and chilled, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper 

Rinse and drain the farro.  Put in a large bowl, and cover with a good amount of cold water.  The farro will double in size by soaking.  Cover with plastic and allow to soak for 6 to 8 hours at room temperature. Rinse and drain the farro again. 

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil (like for pasta), add the farro, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard and spices.  Slowly add the olive oil, whisking to emulsify into a vinaigrette.  Add  vegetables, nuts and cranberries.
When the farro is cooked to taste, drain and rinse.**  Add to the mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and combine.  Can be served at room temperature or chilled.  This recipe makes about 12 cups of finished salad, which will hold for a few days in the refrigerator with no real change in quality. 
**In my opinion, it isn't necessary to rinse the farro after cooking to the point of making it cold.  It actually absorbs the flavors of the dressing better when it's mixed warm.

No comments:

Post a Comment