I grew up eating a whole slew of exotic grains and, because I was young, I formed all kinds of silly prejudices. I didn’t like quinoa for a while because of the white pearlescent spiral threads that surrounded each cooked grain. I wasn’t a huge fan of tabouleh salad because the bulgur wheat seemed to go everywhere while eating. And I didn’t like barley because of the berries’ firm texture.
My 27 year old self is hesitant to swear off anything edible. Sure, I still don’t eat meat, but I have come around to such long-hated nemeses as cilantro and ginger. Life’s too short to say no to tasting food, whether it’s a little indulgent or includes an ingredient that you may not favor. With this attitude I am reexamining some of the childhood grain aversions.
Similar to barley, farro comes in different forms: whole farro, semipearled farro, and pearled farro. The quickest and easiest to prepare is the pearled or semipearled (the whole farro requires soaking overnight). Farro contains more fiber and weaker gluten molecules, making it both healthier and easier to digest than standard modern-day wheat.
Try out this simple recipe for a delicious and healthy one dish meal! I doubled the quantity to serve six but the recipe below should make about 3-4 large servings.
5 oz of kale (I used about 8 large leaves of lacinato kale)
1 cup uncooked pearled farro
1 large potato (I doubled and used a large yam and a large russet), cleaned
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of honey
2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Vegetable broth, olive oil, salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook the farro according to the directions on the package. I chose to use one cup of vegetable broth as a substitute for one of the cups of water. Drain and set aside.
Dice up the potato into small cubes (about 1 inch or less). Toss the cubes in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil and spread evenly on a lined oven tray or dish. Top with salt and pepper.
Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes or until the edges are crispy and the center is soft enough for a fork to pierce it easily. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat when roasted.
Use a large knife to chop up your kale. I chopped mine into thin strips. Place in a large bowl and add a tablespoon of olive oil. With clean hands, massage the kale. It should darken in color. The massaging of the kale will not only make it easier to chew but will cut down on any bitter flavors.
Combine the cooked farro, potatoes, dried cranberries, and massaged kale in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
In a small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, honey, and vinegar with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk the dressing together and pour over the farro. Toss the salad to ensure that it is fully dressed and enjoy! I prefer eating this dish warm.