Green Kitchen Recipes: Farro Salad
We often buy this kind of salad in Italian delis, along with large containers of marinated artichokes, olives and peppers, a few different versions of fresh ricotta, taleggio and mozzarella cheeses and some freshly baked pane integrale.
It’s simple Mediterranean no-fuss food that tastes amazing. It is also great to bring on picnics, as it can be brutally handled without turning ugly and can be served both cold and warm.
The basic idea of this salad is to combine any sort of grain berries with finely chopped, oven-baked vegetables and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Roasted root vegetables could be good as a variation, too. Vegans will need to leave out the cheese at the end.
225g (8 oz/generous 1 cup) farro (wheat berries),
oat grains or pearl barley or buckwheat
1 green courgette (zucchini)
1 yellow (bell) pepper, halved and seeded
1 fennel bulb, any green fronds reserved
15 ripe small tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a little cold-pressed olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
juice of 1 lemon
a handful basil, finely chopped
a handful mint, finely chopped
150 g (5 oz/scant 1 cup) olives, pitted
25 g (1 oz/ ¼ cup) shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
some fresh Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, shaved (optional)
1 Place the farro in a bowl, cover with twice as much water and soak for at least 1 hour (maximum 12 hours). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 0C (400 0F/Gas 6).
2 Chop the courgette, pepper, fennel, and tomatoes into small cubes. Place on a baking tray, add the garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give the mixture a good toss with your hands. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until soft with slightly crispy edges. Carefully stir every now and then.
3 Drain the farro, place in a saucepan and add twice as much fresh water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender. Add . teaspoon sea salt towards the end of the cooking time. Remove from the heat and drain any excess water.
4 Place the cooked farro in a mixing bowl together with the lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the roasted vegetables, finely chopped herbs, olives and pistachios and toss to mix. Shave a few large slices of Parmesan cheese on top before serving, if using.
The salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–5 days. Tip: Some people with gluten intolerance can eat oat grains. They don’t contain gluten but avenin, a similar protein. However oats are often contaminated with gluten from wheat, barley or rye during processing so you need to check the label if you need them to be totally gluten-free. For another safe gluten-free alternative use whole buckwheat.