In just a couple of weeks, summer will have arrived, and spring will be just a distant memory. Although we are coming to the end of the season for some of my favorite spring vegetables, I did put together this spring salad using the last of the fava beans from our garden. I like to prepare a big bowl of salad using grains or dried beans that are just packed full of fresh vegetables. We usually enjoy the salad for dinner, and then my husband has a filling and delicious lunch for a couple of days. In this salad I combined farro, my favorite grain often used here in Umbria, along with the fava beans from our garden, fresh spring peas, and asparagus.
Farro is an ancient grain that has become very popular in recent years and is a typical ingredient used in Umbria, the region in Italy where we spend six months each year. A very hearty grain it has a subtle nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture. Farro can now be found in many local grocery stores, Italian specialty shops, or health food stores. You can buy farro in a few different forms including pearled, semi-pearled, or natural. Since the pearled varieties include removing the tough outer husk, the pearled varieties do cook quicker but are not as nutrient rich. If you cannot find farro, you could substitute pearl barley, millet, or even quinoa in its place.
Farro should be cooked just until it is tender to the bite, but it should still be relatively firm. Nothing is worse than overcooked, mushy farro in a salad! To cook your farro, simply bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and then drop in your farro and cook until tender, or “al dente.” I often used pearled farro in my salads, which cooks quicker than regular farro, taking just about 15 minutes to cook. Just check your package directions as cooking time will depend on the variety of farro you choose. I wanted this salad to highlight my vegetables, so I didn’t add any cheese, but you could add some crumbled feta cheese, or slivers of Parmesan cheese if you wanted. Diced grilled chicken could also be added to please the meat lovers in your family!
Deborah Mele 2017
Spring Farro Salad With Fava Beans, Asparagus, & Peas
A hearty grain salad packed full of fresh, green spring vegetables.
- 1 Pound Fava Beans, Shelled
- 1/2 Pound Asparagus, Ends Trimmed & Cut Into 2-inch Pieces
- 1 1/2 Cups Spring Peas
- 2 Cups Cooked Farro, Cooled
- 2 Cups Baby Arugula
- 1 Large Lemon Zested & Juiced
- 1 (1-inch) Piece Of Peeled fresh Ginger
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Bring a medium sized pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then cook the lava beans for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the beans and place in an ice water bath.
- Remove the skin from the lava beans.
- Next cook the asparagus, then the peas, each until tender crisp, and place these in an ice water bath as well to stop the cooking process and keep the vegetables bright green.
- In a large bowl, place the cooked and cooled farro, the lava beans, peas, asparagus and arugula.
- In a small blender, or using an immersion blender, mix the dressing ingredients then pour over the salad.
- Toss the salad well, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.