For the longest time, quinoa has been the darling of all food bloggers for its role as a 'powerfood' - packing a considerable punch of calcium, fiber, and protein per serving and making for a low-GI alternative to pasta and wheat-based carbohydrates.
And then there's its less-popular cousin, the farro.
Farro is a grain with all the nutritional benefits of quinoa and then some. Not only does it remain low in calories, but it boasts less fat and double the calcium. (Although, it's probably important to note that farro DOES contain gluten, so all of you wheat-sensitive Vinglers out there, quinoa's still where it's at.)
Below are some salad recipes that not only highlight the light yet hearty texture of farro, but make great summer salads too!
Mediterranean Farro Salad
(Inspired By Orchard Street Kitchen)
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
For The Salad -
1 1/2 cups uncooked farro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 15-oz can chickpeas
4 cups chopped raw kale
1 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup almond-based feta cheese (or I would recommend SoyFeta brand vegan feta cheese from Whole Foods.)
For The Dressing -
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt and pepper
1) Cook farro according to directions.
2) When there is about 5 minutes left on the farro, saute the garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan until lightly browned.
3) Add kale, sun dried tomatoes and chickpeas to the saucepan and cook 2 - 3 minutes, until kale is just beginning to wilt.
4) Combine kale mixture to farro and add the feta.
5) Whisk dressing ingredients together and add to the farro. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Farro Caprese Salad
(Inspired By Oh My Veggies!)
MAKES 4 - 6 SERVINGS
2 cups farro
4 cups water
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 10-ounce package of Teese mozzarella-style vegan cheese alternative, quartered (You should be able to find this at your local Whole Foods. The package looks like this.)
1 clove garlic
1 cup basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons grated vegan parmesan (I use Go Veggie! brand.)
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1) In a medium pot, combine the farro and the water with a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 13 - 15 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the farro is tender. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.In a large bowl, toss together the cooked farro with the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
2) To make the dressing, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic and basil. Pulse until minced, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the olive oil, parmesan, champagne vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Pulse again until combined and smooth. Season to taste with salt.
3) Toss the dressing with the farro salad. Serve topped with toasted pine nuts.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Salad
(From The Veg Life)
MAKES 2 SERVINGS
For The Salad -
2 medium sweet potatoes, large diced, skins on and roasted until fork-tender
1/2 cup pearl onions, cooked or roasted
1/4 cup corn, cooked or roasted
1/2 cup cooked farro
For The Dressing -
3 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
1 lemon (juice + zest)
4 - 5 tablespoons of olive oil
For The Garnish -
Salt and pepper, to taste
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes well, as the skin is used in this recipe. Slice lengthwise and cut into large diced pieces. Try to keep uniform in size so they will roast evenly.
2) Peel three cloves of garlic, drizzle them with olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper. Then wrap the garlic in foil and roast it along with the sweet potatoes.
3) Roast sweet potatoes until fork-tender.If you'd like, you can also roast the corn and pearl onions. Just keep a close eye as they will cook much more quickly than the potatoes or garlic.
4) Cook the farro according to the directions on the package. Allow to cool.
5) Mash the three cloves of garlic with a bit of salt and add to a small bowl. Add the juice of 1 lemon and its zest. Whisk in the oil to make a vinaigrette. Set aside.
6) Allow the potatoes to cool slightly enough to handle. Toss together the sweet potatos, corn, farro and onions.
7) Serve topped with radish sprouts and the garlic lemon vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper, to taste.