“Farro is a grain that’s been enjoyed since ancient times. It’s high in fiber, protein and nutrients and absolutely delicious with a nutty, full flavor and an appealing chewy texture. Farro, also known as emmer, was one of the earliest domesticated crops in the Near East. It was grown in Egypt and Mesopotamia and eventually migrated, as many grains did, through the Mediterranean region and Europe. Though farro was appreciated because it grew well in many soils and also for its heartiness – it is very high in protein and nutrients. It was valued just as much by some cultures, the Italians in particular, for its flavor. It’s toothsome, wholesome, and full of big, nutty, grain flavor. Farro is also a grain that some folks with wheat allergies can tolerate more than its other wheat berry cousins.
I love making farro, spelt and wheat berries into a sweet or savory salad. You can mix them with cranberries, walnuts and a vinaigrette or make it more savory like this recipe. What I love about this salad is that the roasted mushrooms taste like they have been marinated when you let this sit a bit. These type of salads are great for a grab-and-go lunch or a wholesome snack. They taste even better the next day when the flavors have melded. You may also want to try my other Simple Savory Wheat Berry Salad which can be thrown together in just a few minutes once the wheat berries are ready.”
- 1 cup farro
- 4 cups water
- 3 tsp salt, divided
- 1 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp black pepper, divided
- 1 1/4 lbs portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, diced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 whole bulbs garlic, roasted
- 1/2 tsp rubbed thyme or 2 tsp dried
- 1 tsp ground rosemary or 1/2 tbsp fresh minced
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 bunch green kale, destemmed and torn into 1 inch pieces
- Bring water, farro and 2 tsps salt to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 60-75 minutes or until farro is a tender, chewy consistency. Drain in a colander and let cool to room temperature. Do not rinse.
- Meanwhile, to roast garlic, set oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the top end of the two bulbs of garlic so it exposes the cloves (don’t cut the root end). Place bulbs on a large square of tin foil large enough so you can envelope the entire bulb. Pour a little olive oil over the top (cut end) and sprinkle with kosher salt. Pull the corners of the foil around the bulb to surround it loosely. Place in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until soft to the touch. When cooled, squeeze out the garlic from the papery peel and set aside the inner pieces for use later. Discard the peels.
- Turn oven up to 400 degrees.
- Toss squash with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Spread evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until edges are brown and squash is tender.
- Toss mushrooms with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Roast in oven until tender and brown on edges, about 12-15 minutes.
- Add roasted red pepper to cooled farro.
- In food processor, puree roasted garlic with thyme and rosemary. With the machine running, drizzle in vinegar and then remaining olive oil until dressing is blended. Add more vinegar to taste if desired.
- Toss the farro and red peppers with dressing, kale, mushrooms and squash. Note: you may want to add the farro and dressing in increments with all the veggies as you may not need all the dressing or farro depending on how much farro to veggies you prefer. Keep the extra dressing set aside to add to the salad the next day if desired.
- You may not need to use all the farro and dressing. Mix in about half then mix in the rest gradually until you have the right ratio to veggies that you like.
- You can make the roasted garlic and farro the day before so its ready to go. Then all you’ll need to do is roast the veggies and combine.