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Spring Farro Salad
A few weeks back I was at one of my favorite local vegetarian/vegan restaurants. I ordered their farro salad. It was delicious, hearty, and filling. I wasn’t too familiar with farro, so the next time I was in the aisle of the bulk food section of my local grocery store, I decided to scoop some up, and do some experimenting with the leftover ingredients I found in my refrigerator.
What is farro?
Farro is a whole grain from the wheat family. It is not gluten free. It is said to be an ancient grain, meaning that it has been around for centuries, and remains the same today as it did long ago. Since it is a natural, unaltered, whole grain it is friendly to those who eat a plant-based diet.
Farro is an excellent nutrition source, great for those on a heart healthy diet. A quarter cup of farro contains 10% of your daily iron allowance, 7g of fiber, 0g of sugar, and 7g of protein, making it an excellent addition to salads, as a side dish, or even as a morning substitute for oatmeal.
You can find farro in the bulk section of many specialty grocery stores. If you do not have a specialty grocer, or bulk section in your grocery store, Nature’s Earthy Choice or Bob’s Red Mill sells packaged farro.
Fresh and Seasonal Produce
I nearly always have a pint of cherry tomatoes, some scallions, and peppers at the ready. They’re a staple in many of the dishes I prepare. Both of my boys are crazy for tomatoes. I can put them in their lunch, or as a side at dinner, and I know they’ll eat them up. But I’m sure as you know, we sometimes forget about some of the fruits and veggies that get buried at the bottom of the produce drawer.
At the end of every week I do an assessment on Sunday morning to see what needs to be prepared ASAP, and what I need to restock for the coming week. Often I’ve got some leftover scallions and peppers that need to be prepared. When I purchase parsley for a recipe, I always have leftovers.
This salad is a healthy and delicious way to clear out the fridge and utilize those fresh ingredients before they go bad!
Did you know?
I know there are many people on a low carb diet such as Keto or Paleo. These diets restrict carbs, and farro is most definitely a carb. While some people experience success on low carb diets, The Mayo Clinic writes, “Low-carb diets, especially very low-carb diets, may lead to greater short-term weight loss than do low-fat diets. But most studies have found that at 12 or 24 months, the benefits of a low-carb diet are not very large.”
The reason people rave about low carb diet is they experience quick weight loss, but if you’re looking for long term health benefits and lasting weight loss solutions, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, switching from refined carbs to whole carbs like farro, and reducing or eliminating processed sugar, you are more likely experience long term results.
They key to weight loss is to consume less calories. You can find success restricting calories by eliminating carbs, but you can also find success in restricting calories by eating in moderation and opting for whole foods over processed foods. When eating in moderation, and choosing whole carbs, you will reap the benefits of farro while also staying on track towards your healthy eating and weight loss goals. Coupled with the spring produce you’ll also get a healthy daily serving of veggies.
- 4 cups of water
- 1 ½ cups of farro
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 pint of organic cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 organic green pepper chopped
- 6 scallions chopped finely
- 1 cup of organic flat leaf parsley
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- Combine water, farro and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain any access water, and transfer to a bowl to cool.
- While farro is cooking, chop the cherry tomatoes, green pepper, scallions, and parsley.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and chopped garlic in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine into a vinaigrette. I use a small amount of oil and vinegar as the natural flavors of the vegetables combined with the nuttiness of the farro makes for a refreshing salad on its own.
- When farro has cooled combine with the vegetables, and toss with the vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature.