Deb Lindsey Washington Post Roasted vegetable and farro salad – hearty, healthy and delicious.

Recipe: Roasted vegetable and farro salad

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1D

When the early days of spring flirt with sunny warmth, only to shrink back into a chill, I gravitate toward hearty salads for dinner: combinations of roasted vegetables, grains and greens dressed in a pungent, sometimes spicy vinaigrette.

But they're not always the quickest to come by: Some of my favorite grains take the longest to cook. Those tough greens may need help becoming tender. And the vegetables require some oven time.

If I'm organized, my refrigerator plays the part of a prepped salad bar. Ingredients that took their turns in the oven, pot or mixing bowl on more leisurely days sit in containers, awaiting my decisions about how to combine them.

When I'm not so organized, I look for quick ways to get the job done without sacrificing flavor.

In the grain category, farro comes to the rescue because in its semipearled variety (the default if it's imported from Italy) it needs just a 20-minute simmer, making it a viable alternative, timewise, to simple white rice but with so much more character.

It's also one of the most forgiving grains I've encountered; the window of doneness allows you to cook it for even twice as long and it stays slightly chewy and nutty.

In the meantime, Brussels sprouts and carrots can go in a hot oven together, with the sprouts getting brown-edged and tender in just about as long as it takes for the carrots to slightly soften, keeping a little of their crunch. Kale just needs a massage – you have been massaging your kale, haven't you? – for it to become silky-smooth, much more pleasant to eat than when it is tough and fibrous.

To pull it all together, I splash on a vaguely Middle Eastern vinaigrette made from the spice blend za'atar, feta, olive oil and a heavy dose of red wine vinegar.

To keep in the same flavor profile and add even more textures, I chop up dried figs and scatter in slivered almonds.

This is a mix-and-match approach: Keep roughly to the same proportions, using other grains, leafy greens, nuts, fruit and dressing. As the days and nights get warmer, the elements can get lighter.

Roasted vegetable and farro salad

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes (some overlap)

Serves 4 to 6

From Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan, author of the upcoming "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook" (Ten Speed Press, $24.99, 204 pages).

Make ahead: If you can't find za'atar, substitute 2 teaspoons thyme, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and 1/4 teaspoon marjoram. The farro can be cooked in advance and refrigerated for up to 1 week. The vegetables can be roasted and refrigerated up to 1 week in advance. The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup semipearled farro

1 1/2 cups water

4 medium carrots (about 12 ounces total), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch slices

8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 ounces (2 cups lightly packed) kale leaves, thinly sliced

4 large dried Mission figs, stemmed and chopped

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 tablespoon za'atar spice blend

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the farro and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so the liquid is barely bubbling; cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; drain off any excess water, cover and let stand for at least 10 minutes or until the farro cools to room temperature.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Toss the carrots and Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the salt. Roast until the Brussels sprouts are caramelized around the edges and the carrots are barely tender (but not soft) when pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Place the kale in a serving bowl and massage the leaves by picking them up by the handful and squeezing them. Repeat for a few minutes, until the kale turns silky and darkens in color. Add the figs, almonds, cooked farro and roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts; toss to combine.

Whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of oil, the za'atar, vinegar and honey in a medium bowl to form an emulsified vinaigrette, then stir in the feta. Pour over the salad and toss to incorporate.

Per serving (based on 6): 350 calories, 10 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Joe Yonan



Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Buy
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads
Make:

Model:

Price Range:
to
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older

TODAY'S CIRCULARS