Meatless Monday: Farro Salad

Meatless Monday: Farro Salad

September is Whole Grains Month! Celebrate by cooking with farro, an underappreciated ancient grain.

Ever heard of farro? This ancient grain may not seem as glamorous as quinoa or amaranth, but it makes for a versatile, filling addition to meatless meals. September is also Whole Grains Month, giving us an excuse to celebrate this great grain.

One of the oldest grains around, farro is a type of wheat that served as a staple food in ancient Rome. It has a chewy texture and nutty flavour, and boasts more protein per serving than boring brown rice.

If you’re new to cooking with farro, try using it in place of rice in side dishes, soups, and salads. You might want to use pearled farro, which has had the outer bran removed. There’s no need to soak this type of farro, and it’ll take a mere 20 minutes or so to cook. Sounds pretty good to me!

Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is sure to make you a farro fan. The nutty grain pairs perfectly with juicy orange slices, cherry tomatoes, and a silky yogurt-based dressing.

Farro Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel
From Jennifer Danter’s “Tapas for Two”

3 Tbsp (45 mL) plain low-fat yogurt
1 orange
1/2 tsp (2 mL) honey
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin

2 cups (500 mL) water
3/4 cup (180 mL) farro
Sea salt to taste
12 cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, still in skins
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 tsp (5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each sweet smoked paprika and dried oregano leaves
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments

For dressing, place yogurt in bowl. Grate orange and add 2 tsp (10 mL) grated orange peel to yogurt. Squeeze in juice from orange. Stir in honey and cumin.

For the salad, pour water into saucepan and stir in farro and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the water is absorbed and grains are cooked but slightly chewy, 18 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss cherry tomatoes, garlic, and fennel with oil. Season with smoked paprika, dried oregano, and salt to taste. Place in small casserole dish, uncovered, and roast in preheated 450 F (230 C) oven until tomatoes start to burst and fennel and garlic are browned, about 15 minutes.

Add roasted vegetables (except garlic) to farro. Squeeze garlic from papery skins onto cutting board. Using the flat side of a large knife, mash to form a paste. Stir into dressing, then pour dressing over farro. Add orange segments and stir to mix evenly. Garnish with fresh fennel fronds.

Serves 4.

Each serving contains: 106 calories; 4 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 24 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 45 mg sodium

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