Springtime Farro Salad

Farro is an ancient grain that has become quite popular these days, it has a rich nutty flavor with just the right amount of chewiness with great health benefits as a bonus! It’s easy to prepare with no fuss at all, just cook up some vegetables to add to it and it becomes the perfect main or side dish!

I made this salad over the weekend to serve alongside some grilled meats but it was just as good eaten all by itself for lunch the next day. Bursting with color, it makes you think of spring doesn’t it?

Cooking the farro is super easy, cover the grain with water, add a little salt, bring it to a boil then cover and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, drain, then spread it out on a baking sheet to cool down.

I roasted red, yellow and green peppers, red onion, asparagus, minced garlic, zucchini, artichokes hearts and peas, all in a 425F oven tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper until tender but not mushy. You can use any vegetables you want just make sure to cut them into bite size pieces.

When everything cools down toss the farro with the vegetables into a large bowl and add chopped fresh parsley and basil, a couple of sliced scallions, if you have some lemon olive oil drizzle some of that all over or make your own by whisking fresh lemon juice with olive oil, add salt, pepper and a generous amount of freshly grated Grana Padana cheese. I like to toss and taste to see how everything is flavored adding a little more of this and a little more of that!

Happy Spring!


Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Ribbons of zucchini can instantly transform a simple salad into something you might see served at an upscale restaurant, not only does it look pretty, but the added zucchini adds a special element of flavor. This is so easy to make and you don’t even need a fancy gadget to do it!

A simple vegetable peeler is all you’ll need to to cut the thin lengthwise strips of zucchini. Start by cutting off the ends of your zucchini then use your peeler to cut the strips, stopping and turning when you see the seeds. The unused portion as seen in the photo above can easily be diced up and used for future use.

You’ll want to make sure you cook your strips of zucchini either in a stove top grill or saute pan coated with a tiny bit of olive oil, they only take a couple of minutes. Make sure they cool completely before adding them to your salad.

I used arugula for my salad base and tossed it in a vinaigrette of 3 parts olive oil to 1 part red wine vinegar, added a touch of Dijon, a crushed garlic clove, salt, black pepper and oregano, any lemon based dressing would be work as well.
Lay your zucchini strips on top, toss in some feta or shaved Parmesan and sprinkle with toasted nuts, I used hazelnuts here with the feta, but pine nuts or slivered almonds would be just as good. To finish, drizzle a little more dressing over the top. Just let your creative juices flow and make it your own!
Buon Appetito