Farro was another newcomer to our vocabulary (joining the likes of quinoa and tempeh) after we started exploring the realm of unprocessed, veggie-centric eating. It’s a grain similar to barley, but a bit chewier – and a tad tastier, I might contend :)
This recipe is the first we tried with farro, and absolutely loved it. Since then, we’ve made it several times…notable, since we usually take any opportunity to make something new! The combination of roasted vegetables, chewy farro, and creamy cheese is just too hard to resist.
Need proof? Just ask my mom…after we served it to her, she went directly home and made it for herself! Unfortunately, farro is a bit tricky to find, so shopping for it may require some creativity. We were fortunate enough to find it in massive quantities at a local bulk goods store, as well as a few other carriers. If you can’t locate it, you could substitute spelt, wheat berries, pearl barley, or even brown short grain rice (or look online!).
I’m a little sentimental about this salad…not only because it was one of our early successes with meatless cuisine, but it also taught me the function of a recipe as a “concept”. It was the first time I realized that I could cook any grain, roast any combination of vegetables, add any cheese, toss with any oil and vinegar, and come up with a winning combination! Though if you want to experience the taste sensation shown above, you’ll have to follow the instructions below :)
Note Fontina can be a bit cost-prohibitive, depending on where you shop! We love the taste, but you could substitute mozzarella or another favorite cheese with great results.
Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course
What You Need
2 cups farro
4 to 6 carrots
3 small to medium red onions
1 pint grape tomatoes
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms
8 cloves of garlic
Handful of parsley
4 to 6 oz fontina or mozzarella cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
What To Do
1 Preheat the oven to 400F.
2 Prepare the vegetables: Peel and chop the carrots into small chunks. Slice the red onions. Wash and chop the mushrooms. Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into quarters.
3 Roast the vegetables: Place carrots, red onion, mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Mix with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender.
4 Cook the farro: Place 2 cups farro in a pot with 6 cups of water. Season with salt and bring to a low boil. Cook for around 15 minutes, until tender.
5 Prepare the remaining ingredients: Chop the cheese into cubes. Finely chop the parsley.
6 Assemble the salad: When the vegetables are done, combine farro, vegetables, cheese and parsley. Season with around 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, adjusting as necessary to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.