Farro, an ancient grain believed to have sustained the Roman legions, has in recent years become the darling of American health-conscious cooks and consumers alike. Used in soups, salads and desserts, this whole grain is a fun and interesting alternative to pasta and rice. With a sweet and nutty flavor combined with hot & cold versatility, farro is an ideal source for warm weather side dishes and salads. Here I’ve paired it with some of the spring season’s loveliest vegetables. Add a simple green salad and a nice glass of bright, citrus-packed white wine and you’ve got yourself a what I call a little slice of healthy heaven.
Farro: Also known as spelt, farro contains significantly more protein than wheat and is a slow release carbohydrate. Naturally high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals; farro’s gluten structure is less irritating and many non-celiac gluten intolerant people are able to tolerate it without difficulty.
Sugar Snap Peas: Sugar snap peas are low in calories, fat-free and full of fiber, Vitamins C, K and heart-healthy folate.
Asparagus: Phytonutrient rich asparagus is an excellent source of folate, Vitamin C, A and anti-inflammatory vitamin K. Asparagus is also a very good source of -energy-producing B-vitamins as well as phosphorus, and heart-healthy potassium.
Farro Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Asparagus
- 1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro
- 12-ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- 8-ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
- 12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup raspberry vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6-ounces crumbled feta cheese (optional)
In a saucepan, cover the farro with water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until chilled.
Meanwhile, cook asparagus and sugar snap peas in another saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain. (For more on the blanch/shock method click here). Add peas and asparagus to farro along with tomatoes, onion, and dill. Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Add dressing and feta to salad; toss to coat and serve.