One of the things I enjoy very much about the turn of the calendar year is the parallel turn of the food year, from autumn to winter.
We wave goodbye to super-heavy brown foods and embrace bright citruses and nourishing grains. Pomegranates and winter greens and windowsill herbs. Sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Hello, my lovelies! I’ve missed you so.
So January finds me indulging in my year-round crush on whole grains: farro, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat. My favorite breakfast lately? Quinoa and millet tossed lightly with a tarragon-lemon-honey vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg. Poked, of course, so the yolk runs everywhere.
Lunch includes a side of farro mixed with whatever leftover vegetables are cooling patiently in the fridge. Oh, and my latest creation and obsession: herbed hummus dressing. Equally delicious as a dip (and crazy healthy, too), I’ve been making a batch every weekend to use as a spread on crusty baguette slices, a condiment on turkey sandwiches, and a dressing for this farro salad.
Studded with refreshing cucumbers and peppers, pomegranate seeds give a pleasant pop of sweet and tangy among the nutty flavors of the farro and quinoa. Refreshing and nourishing at the same time.
I know I’m waxing rhapsodic here about a grain salad. But, I suspect ya’ll understand. That’s the amazing thing about the interwebs and foodie blogs. When your peeps shake their heads over salad swooning, pull up a seat here. We foodies know the deal.
Have a great weekend with lots of fabulous food!
Mediterranean Farro Salad with Hummus Dressing
Prep Time:30 minutes (includes making the dressing)
Cook time:30 minutes
Yield: 4 generous meal-size servings, or 8 side-dish servings
1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
3/4 cup farro
1/4 cup quinoa
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup prepared chicken strips or vegetarian protein substitute (optional)
1/4 to 1/3 cup hummus vinaigrette (recipe)
1. Place oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat and warm until shimmering. Add farro and stir well to coat. Cook for 2-3 minutes to toast the grains. Turn heat to high and add water and salt. When the water boils, reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot, and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add the quinoa to the pot, stir gently to mix in with the farro, recover, and simmer for 20 minutes more. Drain the grains through a sieve and place in a large bowl (or spread out on a baking sheet and move to a bowl later). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
4. When the grains have cooled, add the chopped vegetables, pistachios, pomegranate seeds and chicken/protein substitute (if using). Gently stir in 1/4 cup of the hummus dressing. Taste, and add more dressing, salt and pepper, if necessary.
5. Salad can be served at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Tip: You can prep the vegetables and make the hummus dressing while the grains are cooling. Also, grains can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Bring to nearly room temperature before assembling the salad.