After a few months of hearty, filling, and warming soups and stews, I’m looking forward to the freshness that Spring ingredients are bringing to the table. Having spotted some farro, I decided to give it a try – a lot nuttier and chewier than rice, farro is also a higher-protein alternative (even to brown rice), that goes along well in an otherwise vegetarian meal. The nuttiness also adds a great texture to the softer, roasted veggies and overall, the dish keeps you feeling full for hours. I found that the salad tasted even better the next day once the dish had time to absorb some of the flavors, so it makes for a great portable and healthy lunch as well. And in my next post, I’ll explore farro’s colder-weather counterpart, wheatberries, which is the star of some great dishes that I’ve now had at Caseus and August in New Haven.
Before cooking this recipe, it is important to keep in mind the kind of farro you’re using. As Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen points out, “Farro comes whole/unpearled, semi-pearled (semi-perlato) and pearled (perlato); pearling describes how much of the exterior bran is removed, but packages are not always labeled. If your package says it will cook in less than 15 minutes, it’s probably pearled; if it takes around 30 minutes, it’s probably semi-pearled. And if it takes 60 to 80 minutes, it is whole or unpearled.” Just as a reference, I got pearled farro from Trader Joe’s which took between 10-12 minutes to cook.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 and 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
- 8-10 cremini mushrooms, cut into small chunks
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 cup zucchini, sliced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 cup diced eggplant
- 2 cups farro
- 3-4 ounces goat cheese
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used blood orange balsamic vinegar)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, and onion in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, crushed red pepper and lemon pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, and roast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
- Cut eggplant into slices. Spread slices onto a paper towel and lightly salt. Let sit for 15 minutes to absorb excess water. Blot dry. Grill them on the electric griddle until slightly browned or roast in a separate pan with the rest of the vegetables.
- Meanwhile, rinse and drain the farro. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, season with salt, and add the farro. Cook according to instructions.
- Combine the cooked farro and vegetables, then add the goat cheese. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the farro mixture.
Liked this dish? Click here for more farro recipes!