I love making a big grain-based salad during the week that we can enjoy at lunch for a couple of days. Farro is usually my grain of choice as I learned to love it living in Umbria, Italy, a few months each year. In Umbria, farro is the grain of choice, used in salads, soups, as a side dish, or in place of rice in risotto dishes. Farro adds a delicious nutty flavor to everything it is added to. This ancient grain is also an excellent source of protein, fiber, and nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and some B vitamins.
Once I have my farro cooked, it is time to decide what vegetables I’ll add to it. Sometimes it can be as simple as tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion, along with a handful of fresh herbs. Other times I’ll roast some vegetables as I did in this recipe.
Root vegetables are delicious roasted as the heat caramelizes the natural sugars in the veggies, bringing out their inherent sweetness. You can choose any root vegetables you prefer, but I used sweet potatoes, carrots, turnip, and celery root in my mix. I added red onions, which are delicious roasted, and toasted the vegetables in a light vinaigrette along with the farro while still warm. I then added some chopped walnuts, fresh herbs, and some grated ricotta salt cheese.
This dinner is hearty enough to enjoy on meatless Mondays or for lunch. It packs well to take to potluck dinners or picnics and keeps well in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- 3 Cups Water
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Uncooked Farro
- 3 Medium Carrots Cut Into 1 1/2-inch Dice
- 1 Large Sweet Potato Cut Into 1 1/2-inch Dice
- 1 Medium Sized Turnip, Peeled & Cut Into 1 1/2-inch Dice
- 1 Medium Celery Root, Peeled & Cut into 1 1/2-inch Dice
- 1 Large Red Onion, Peeled & Cut Into 1-inch Thick Strips
- 2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
- 3 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano Leaves
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil
- 1/3 Cup Lightly Toasted, Chopped Walnuts
- 1/4 Cup Shredded Ricotta Salata Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Bring 3 cups water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high, then stir in farro.
- Cover and reduce heat to low, and cook until farro is tender and water is mostly absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. (Farro should still be a little chewy to the bite)
- Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, 10 minutes.
- Drain the farro and set aside.
- While the farro cooks, toss the root vegetables. celery, and onion in 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper and spread out onto two foil lined baking sheets.
- Roast until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the farro, roasted vegetables, remaining oil, vinegar, herbs, and walnuts.
- Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Place salad in a bowl or platter, then sprinkle top with the cheese and serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 655Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 1286mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 16gSugar: 16gProtein: 19g