Summer is for salads, especially now that cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes are in plentiful supply at the farmers’ markets. At the end of a long, hot day like today, a salad in the fridge is a welcome sight indeed.
All it takes to make this happen is a little advance planning when you hear the forecast for a stretch of hot weather.
One option is to prepare extra servings any time you cook a grain and to marinate the leftovers in the refrigerator. Simply add a scoop or two of the marinated grain to your favorite salad, and you will have a satisfying meal. See this past post for some ideas.
Another option is to prepare a grain salad that you can serve atop a bed of mixed greens. For a potluck contribution to a Memorial Day picnic, I made this beautiful (and very easy) farro salad based on a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis found online at the Food Network site.
- 4 cups water
- 10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups) [I used a bag of Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro.]
- Salt to taste [or a vegetable bouillon cube]
- 1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 sweet Vidalia onion chopped
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan.
- Add salt or bouillon.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes for conventional farro, less for the Trader Joe’s.
- Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, chives, and parsley to the farro, and toss to combine.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat.
The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
It is delicious served on top of salad greens. With additions such as chopped celery, cucumbers, kalamata olives, or crumbled feta, farro salad can easily become a complete meal.
If you don’t have any farro on hand, you can substitute orzo or small bowtie pasta, but you will miss out on some nutritional benefits. One serving of farro has 10 grams of protein, 2% of the recommended daily value of calcium, and 19% of the daily value of fiber vs. 7 grams of protein and 8% of fiber for conventional pasta.
Get creative. And enjoy your time outside the kitchen.
Happy Summer! Happy Meatless Monday.
On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”