Pearled farro. I love it.
It’s become my go-to quick cooking grain for pilafs and easy salads.
Unpearled farro (with the bran layer fully intact) requires soaking and long cooking times, but semi-pearled and pearled farro have some of (or most of) the bran layer removed, shortening the cooking time and increasing the tenderness.
My ultimate favorite is semi-pearled, since I enjoy the nutty flavor and tougher texture of the bran, but the grocery store nearest me only carries fully pearled farro. Either way, it’s freaking delicious and nutritious.
Farro (also known as emmer) is a type of wheat, different from the modern wheat cultivated today. It has a higher protein and fiber content than traditional wheat, and reminds me a lot of barley.
Since farro has a pretty neutral, nutty taste, it’s perfect for grain-based side dishes.
If you toss it with a vinaigrette, the plump grains absorb the vinaigrette like a sponge, ensuring flavor in every bite. Load it up with mixed herbs, veggies, and cheeses for an absolutely mouth watering side dish or light main dish. Top with grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make it a meal.
This Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables just SCREAMS summer.
It highlights all of summer’s best, like bell pepper, zucchini, tomato, cucumber, eggplant, and fresh herbs. Eating it instantly transports me to a picnic at the beach, lounging in the sun, eating light fresh food that makes me feel good. Good thing it makes enough to serve 8, so I can enjoy it all week!
- 2 cups 16 oz uncooked pearled farro
- 2 large or 3 small zucchini, ends discarded, each squash sliced vertically into 1/4ths
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
- 1 small eggplant or 1/2 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- Olive oil or grapeseed oil, for drizzling
- 3/4 cup minced red onion
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cucumber, cut into a small dice
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 1 cup quartered kalamata olives
- 8 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
Fill a saucepan with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the farro, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the farro and place in a large salad bowl.
Drizzle the zucchini slices, bell pepper halves, and eggplant slices with olive oil or grapeseed oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or broiler on high heat and grill or broil the vegetables in batches, flipping once, until grilled/charred but still firm (about 6-10 minutes per batch). Remove the vegetables to a plate and let cool.
When the grilled vegetables are cooled, chop them into a small dice, about 1/4 inch, and add to the salad bowl with the farro. Add the red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, basil, mint, olives, and feta cheese and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour over the farro salad and toss well. Serve as a light dinner with grilled bread and sliced fruit, or top with grilled chicken for a heartier meal. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.