Meet my new favorite salad! Yes, my new. favorite. salad. For all my followers, you know this is a big deal. I love salads. Love 'em. Make them all the time. Eat them all the time. But this right here... this is my favorite. And here's why...
The vegetables are roasted!
By now, you probably know how much I love roasted vegetables. And I hope everyone has discovered how easy roasted vegetables are to cook, and how magical they taste! If not, you are in for a treat. For more info on roasting techniques generally, my see How To: Roasting.
Say what? Farro! That's right, if you haven't tried farro, then again, you are in for a treat. It's now my new favorite grain (apparently, I'm having favorites all over the place today) because simply put, the delicious:healthy ratio is unbeatable. Delicious: When its cooks up, the texture is fluffy, but still firm and chewy, and then the flavor is somewhat nutty. Just too good. Healthy: it has the benefits of a whole grain, and also a surprising amount of protein. It's wonderful for a meatless meal, and is very budget friendly!
I call this a summer salad because it features summer vegetables (and mushrooms, because well, I love mushrooms). However, you can roast any vegetable, during any season, add it to this salad, and it would be delightful. I really can't think of any vegetable that wouldn't work. Then, if you can't find farro (it should be near the rest of the grains in the grocery aisle) or don't have any on hand, you can substitute any pasta or grain, and it will taste lovely! Although I beg you to try the farro. :)
Lastly, there are countless other additions that would complement the dish. As I was eating this salad for lunch on day two, a light bulb went off, and I realized that it would be stellar with some kind of toasted nut on the top... and then I realized I had pine nuts... and yes, I was very pleased with myself (because it was delicious!). Thus, I decided to add pine nuts as an "optional" ingredient (and it's also why they're not pictured). So my question is, do y'all have any fun variations? Additions? Suggestions?
Okay, so far we've got farro, magical roasted vegetables, and toasted pine nuts. Now, we're gonna add a tangy vinaigrette, some creamy goat cheese, AND fresh herbs?? Yes, that really just happened. After you mix it up, just eat up or refrigerate! I promise you will want to eat it over and over (and over) again. I like it best room temperature, but see what suits your fancy.
Did I really just write all that about this recipe?? Haha. Well, let's get to the good stuff...
** SUMMER FARRO SALAD **
* 1 1/2 cups farro
* 1/4 cup fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chives, & dill (I used a mixture of Italian parsley & chives)
* 4 oz. goat cheese
* Optional: 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (substitution: walnuts)
* 1 red or yellow bell pepper, large diced
* 12 - 16 oz. tomatoes, large sliced (I used Roma)
* 8 oz. mushrooms, halved or quartered
* 1 zucchini, chopped
* 1 red onion, large diced
* 1/4 cup Sherry vinegar (substitution: red wine vinegar)
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1-2 garlic clove(s), minced well
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1) Cook farro according to package instructions.
2) Roast the Veg!
* Preheat oven to 425 F.
* Place your prepared vegetables on a baking dish, and give them a good coat of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. I divide the veg on two different baking dishes based on their cooking time.
* Cooking time for the tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms: about 20 minutes.
* Cooking time for the zucchini and red onions: about 10 minutes.
3) Make the vinaigrette!
* While the veg is roasting, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinaigrette ingredients.
* In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the farro and herbs. Then, gently fold in your roasted vegetables.
* I topped the salad with the goat cheese and pine nuts, but you can also just mix them in the big bowl.
* And prepare for nom city...