We eat a variety of healthy grains in our home, but one of our favorites is an ancient grain I discovered while we were living in Umbria called farro. I use farro in my soups, in place of rice in risotto, as well as in a variety of salads such as this one made with fennel, celery, and edamame. If I were in Umbria, I would use fresh fava beans in this salad, but unfortunately fava beans are very difficult to find here in Florida, so I substituted edamame instead. If you prefer, spring peas would also be a great substitution.
When I think of spring salads, I think of bright green vegetables, so I kept the color palette bright and fresh using only green vegetables in this salad. I used a light lemon based dressing for my salad which works really well with the nutty flavored farro. Farro should be cooked just until it is tender to the bite, but it should still be fairly firm. Nothing worse than overcooked mushy farro in a salad! To cook your farro, simply bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then drop in your farro and cook until tender, or “al dente”. I often used pearled farro which cooks quicker than regular farro, taking just about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. If you cannot find farro, you could substitute pearl barley in its place.
Deborah Mele 2012
5 Cups Cooked Farro (See Note Above) 1 Medium Fennel Bulb, Cored & Diced 6 Green Onions, Chopped 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Edamame, Fava Beans, Or Spring Peas 1 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves, Coarsely Chopped Salt & Pepper 1 Small Red Chili Pepper, Minced Grated Zest From Two Lemons Dressing: Juice From Two Lemons 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil Salt & Pepper
- 5 Cups Cooked Farro (See Note Above)
- 1 Medium Fennel Bulb, Cored & Diced
- 6 Green Onions, Chopped
- 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Edamame, Fava Beans, Or Spring Peas
- 1 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves, Coarsely Chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Small Red Chili Pepper, Minced
- Grated Zest From Two Lemons
- Juice From Two Lemons
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.
- Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing, taste and adjust as needed.
- Let the salad sit for 30 minutes, toss once more, then serve.