Full of flavour, this Grilled Vegetable Farro Salad makes an ideal side dish, but is hearty enough to go it alone as a light meal.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with side dishes, such as potatoes, rice and pasta. But with a world’s worth of grains widely available, it’s fun to pick out something new and try it out. A few weeks back I picked up a bag of farro. I’d never had it before, at least not knowingly, and was eager to up my grain game with something new and interesting.
Farro is a very hearty grain, rich in protein and fibre, with a nutty flavour and a chewy texture. Basically, it’s a pretty awesome, healthy way to bulk up a salad. I’m not much of a green salad kinda girl, unless it’s loaded with all the stuff, so hearty grains go a long way towards helping me enjoy a salad.
At first this recipe seems like it has a lot going on, but really it’s just a few simple steps. The only hiccup I faced was when I burned the farro on the first attempt. When the package says “simmer for 30 minutes”, it’s probably a good idea not to go help your 6 year old build the perfect Lego structure. It’s also a good idea to check the pot after 20 minutes. Oh well. Lesson learned.
The vegetables will need to be started ahead of time, so they have a chance to pick up the flavours of the marinade. Mix them up at least 2 hours before grilling, 4 hours is better, and 8 hours? Even better than 4. You can cook the farro up at the same time and then just set it in the fridge until you’re ready to throw everything together.
Once the farro is cooked and the vegetables are grilled and sliced, it’s just a matter of throwing everything in a bowl and stirring it up.
For the Vegetables:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tsp oregano
1 red pepper, cut into quarters, seeds removed
1 portabello mushroom, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
4 – 5 canned artichoke hearts (not marinated)
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest and oregano. Add the vegetables, toss together and set in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the the BBQ. Grill the vegetables for about 2 – 3 minutes, turn them over and grill on the other side for another minute or two. Set aside to cool, then cut into bite size pieces.
For the salad:
2 Cups cooked farro
1 Cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Grilled vegetables from above
1 Cup spinach, roughly chopped
1/3 Cup goat cheese crumbles
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1/4 Cup fresh italian flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve.