Farro Salad with Asparagus, Red Bell Pepper, and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Since Farro, especially whole grain Farro, is a rather unusual ingredient, I thought this Farro Salad would be fun to feature for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Rachel from The Crispy Cook. If you’re cooking with interesting herbs, plants, or vegetables this week, check the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging and join in the fun.
I made a dressing inspired by this caper vinaigrette, but this time I used sun-dried tomatoes instead of roasted red bell peppers. I started by pureeing capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh parsley in the food processor.
I used asparagus stalks I’d saved when I made Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips, and I cut the stalks into short pieces and pan-fried them for this recipe too. This was a delicious salad with limitless variations, so if you don’t have exactly the ingredients I used, you can definitely improvise and make a salad that will still be great.
1 cup Farro (can be perlato or whole grain Farro, but perlato will cook more quickly without soaking; notice different cooking methods)
1 cup sliced asparagus stalks (slice into small pieces)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced into small pieces
2/3 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup capers with juice
3 T minced sun-dried tomatoes
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Check your Farro to see if it seems like some of the hull is removed and decide whether to follow cooking instructions for perlato (semi-hulled) or whole grain Farro. (There’s a photo of perlato Farro in my recipe for Farro with Mushrooms which can help you decide.)
For perlato Farro:
For whole-grain Farro:
Put 1 cup Farro in a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toast, stirring often, until the Farro starts to pop and deepen in color, about 4 minutes. Put the toasted Farro and 1 1/2 cups water into the bowl of rice cooker and let soak 2 hours or more. Add 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt, to rice cooker bowl, stir to combine, close cover and cook on brown rice cycle. When machine switches to keep warm setting, let Farro steam for 10-20 minutes more. Fluff with paddle before using in salad. (These Farro cooking instructions from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook.) If you don’t have a rice cooker, Toast Farro as described above, then follow instructions above for perlato Farro, but increase cooking time (start to check after 30 minutes, and cook until Farro is tender but still slightly chewy.)
While Farro cooks, put capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped parsley into bowl of food processor and process until well pureed. Scrape into bowl and stir in lemon juice, Dijon, and red wine vinegar, then whisk in olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon, vinegar, or Dijon of desired. Let dressing flavors blend.
After Farro has cooked (and steamed if using rice cooker) remove it to a plastic or glass bowl, add about 1/4 cup dressing, and stir into Farro.
If starting with whole asparagus, use the center part of the stems, throwing away woody ends and saving tips for another use. Slice enough asparagus to make 1 cup of slices about 1/2 inch thick. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in heavy pan, then add asparagus and saute about 5 minutes, or until asparagus is starting to brown but it still slightly crisp. Toss asparagus with 1 tsp. lemon juice and place in bowl with the Farro.
Chop red pepper into small dice, then add 1 tsp. more olive oil to frying pan and saute red pepper about 1 minutes. Add red pepper to bowl with the Farro.
Slice green onions and chop parsley and add to bowl with the Farro. Gently stir salad to combine ingredients, then add a bit more dressing until salad is as moist as you’d like it. (You may not need all the dressing.) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve salad slightly warm or at room temperature. This will keep for a day or two in the fridge, but let come to room temperature before serving.
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South Beach Suggestions:
This salad would be phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet. Whole grain Farro would be best for South Beach, but I think perlato Farro would still be okay. This would taste great with Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce and Stir-Fried Spinach.
More Ideas with Farro:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Farro with Mushrooms, Thyme, and Balsamic Vinegar from Kalyn
Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina from The Kitchn
Farro with Cavolo Nero from Feel Good Eats
Farro with Beet Greens from A Veggie Venture
Warm Farro with French Lentils, Carmelized Onions, and Feta from Orangette
Farro with Mozarella di Bufula and Tomatoes from The Food Section
Farro Salad with Hot Shrimps and Shredded Savoy Cabbage from Lucullian Delights
Beans, Cabbage, and Farro Soup from Cookbook Catchall