Roasted Cauliflower, Dried Figs, & Hazelnut Farro Salad


In my attempt to eat healthier in 2017 as well as hopefully lose a few pounds before we head back to Italy, I have been juicing a lot and enjoying a lot of salads and vegetable packed soups. I do love salads of any description, but I get bored easily, especially with traditional salads made primarily with salads greens, and such extras as tomatoes and cucumbers. I have learned to prefer salads that include unusual vegetables, along with healthy grains and dried beans. Farro is the grain of choice in Umbria where we spend six months every year, and farro is used in salads, soups, in place of rice of risotto, and even as a side dish. Farro is an ancient grain that is also called emmer in some parts of the world. This high-fiber food is quickly becoming a gourmet specialty. Farro is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and nutrients like magnesium and iron, and has a nutty flavor that goes well with many ingredients.

We often enjoy eating farro salads, and almost every time I make one, I change the ingredients. If making a farro for a dinner entree, I may add some beans, along with a variety of vegetables chosen for their color, texture, and flavor. This salad came about as I looked through my refrigerator to see what I had on hand and found a head of cauliflower. I decided to roast it to bring out as much flavor as possible and then had to decide what else I’d add to my salad. I decided to replicate some of the flavors of the traditional Sicilian cauliflower salad by adding dried figs and hazelnuts in place of the currants and almonds. I threw in some chopped onion, some peppery baby kale leaves, and tossed everything with a bold sweet and sour dressing. The salad was a hit, and in fact, my husband asked for a second helping. We enjoy this salad as our lunch entree, but it would also be a great side salad served with grilled meats. To cook the farro, place two cups of pearled farro in a pot with four cups of lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for twenty to twenty five minutes until tender.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Roasted Cauliflower, Dried Figs, & Hazelnut Farro Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Head Cauliflower
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 Cups Cooked Farro (See Notes Above)
  • 2 Cups Baby Kale Or Arugula
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped, Lightly Toasted Hazelnuts
  • 1 Cup Chopped Dried Figs
  • 3/4 Cup Sweet Onion

Dressing:

  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces, discarding the stem.
  3. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the cauliflower across the prepared baking sheet, and roast, stirring from time to time, until fork tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  5. Cool to room temperature.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, farro, kale, hazelnuts, figs, and onions.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended.
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
  9. Serve immediately.