Well, that title is a mouth full..(excuse me while I am extremely cheesy) but this salad is a mouth full of goodness! I love this beautiful golden grain, farro so much- and I want you to love it to- so I really hope that after reading this, you will drive to your nearest market and make this recipe!
Ok- let me start from the beginning of my (very short) love affair with all things farro. In November, Gavin and I spent a few days in Manhattan. We love the city for many many reason- but one of the best perks of traveling to the Big Apple is all of the amazing- never ending food choices. From long walks around the Chelsea Market to strolls through Mario Batali’s Eataly, wishing I could afford just one ounce of the pile of black truffles- NYC is a haven of delicious food, amazing markets and innovative chefs.
One afternoon on our last trip, I met a friend for lunch at Bouchon Bistro one of Thomas Keller’s lovely culinary creations. I was SO excited to eat at this little cafe, because honestly, I never thought that I would be able to afford a tiny crumb at one of his restaurants! Though the price point is not what I would consider low , its definitely affordable- and totally worth every penny because of the care put into each plate.
After reading the menu 54,000 times and going back and fourth between a few options, I finally landed on the Harvest Vegetable Salad with farro, butternut squash, roasted cauliflower, toasted almonds and a maple vinaigrette. As the beautiful plate arrived to my table, I knew it was going to be one great meal. The farro was wonderful- nutty, sweet, slightly chewy and perfectly satisfying. The butternut and cauliflower perfectly complemented the flavors and in that moment- love blossomed!
As soon as I got home, I went straight to Whole Foods to find the lovely grain. Then, I went to trusty ole’ google to investigate its nutritional content and the love was solidified. Here is a blurb from 3fatchicks.com describing its history and nutritional content:
Farro is the oldest cultivated grain in the world. Extremely popular in the Middle East during biblical times, farro is able to grow in poor soil conditions and is naturally resistant to fungus. Farro has lost popularity during modern times because it is a low yielding wheat compared to other varieties. Farro is a distinct cousin of modern wheat and is very similar in texture and taste to spelt.
Farro is a whole grain that is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates. Additionally, farro has twice the fiber and protein than modern wheat. Different than some other whole grains, a carbohydrate in farro called cyanogenic glucosides has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it more easily digested.
In addition to minerals and vitamins, farro is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, lignans and betaine. Betaine, when combined with choline, has been shown to prevent or reduce stress-included inflammation, which can be beneficial for individuals suffering from certain medical conditions.
So, it is healthy- and tasty and in my book, that makes it a winner. So, in honor of my lovely Bouchon dining experience, here is my version of the Harvest Vegetable Salad.
Farro Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Cauliflower
makes 4 large servings
1 1/2 C farro
4 C water
2 t sea salt
2 Cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 Cups cauliflower, cut into small bite sized pieces
2 t olive oil
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
3 T Apple Cider Dressing (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium pot, over medium heat combine the farro, water and sea salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes (until the farro is tender but not mushy)!
When the farro is cooked, drain the water and set aside to cool.
Now, place the butternut squash and cauliflower on a baking sheet making sure that it is evenly spread out and the pieces are not touching. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2t olive oil. Roast for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool.
When everything is cool, toss the farro, cauliflower and butternut squash together and season again with salt and pepper. Top with the sliced shallots and 3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Dressing.
Apple Cider Dressing
** This can be made ahead and stored in a mason jar in the fridge to top your favorite salads and veggies!
1/2 C Apple Cider vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
1 t brown sugar or agave
2 T olive oil
In a small pot over medium heat, bring the apple cider to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow the vinegar to cook until it has reduced by half.
Now, whisk in the dijon mustard and brown sugar and olive oil.