I bought three pounds of farro. It’s not my fault. I was at Costco. When you’re at Costco, buying in bulk is a virtue. Normally, I’m quite adept at buying only the items we go through pretty quickly. Like lettuce. Or wine. But as I was cruising the aisles,
looking for a free sample um, I mean searching for pantry staples, I came across a great deal on farro. So, I bought it. Get ready — a flood of farro recipes is coming.
To me, farro is one of those great neutrals, like pasta, rice or couscous. It has a nutty taste and chewy texture that goes well with just about anything.
Satisfying enough for the main attraction at dinner and humble enough to play a supporting role. Hence this salad. It’s great on its own or served next to a piece of grilled chicken, fish, pork, beef… well, you get the idea.
Farro shouldn’t be gluey. When cooked, the grains should be separate, not sticky. If you’ve ever run into this challenge, I’ve got a solution for you. They key to perfectly cooked farro is to bring a pot of lightly salted water (6 or so cups) to a brisk boil. Add the farro (one to two cups) and cook it for 25-30 minutes, until it has achieved a chewy, al dente texture. (I start checking at the 23 minute mark by fishing out a grain or two and tasting it.)
Strain the water from the farro and then return it to the same pot. Put the lid on tightly and set it aside for 10 minutes. Then fluff it with a fork. Voila — farro. (By the way, this method works well for rice, too.)
The crisp-tender veggies and chewy farro give this salad a wonderful texture.
I’ve added fresh mint and parsley, but you could also substitute basil or tarragon for a different flavor profile.
Incidentally, this recipe makes a large salad. We had it as a side for dinner one night, and Em and Scott had it for lunch two days last week.
Farro, Tomato and Green Bean Salad
- 2 cups farro
- 1/2 lb green beans trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1/2 cup red onion finely diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 15- ounce can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup red tomato seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup yellow tomato seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup mint chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- For vinaigrette
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- To prepare farro, bring 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add farro and cook for 25-30 minutes, until tender but still chewy. Drain farro and return to saucepan. Cover with lid and let rest off the heat for 10 minutes. Fluff. Uncover to cool and set aside.
- Blanch the green beans. To blanch: Add about 1" of water to a small saucepan add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add green beans and cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender. While beans are cooking, fill a medium bowl halfway with ice cubes and water. When the beans are done cooking, drain them and immediately plunge them into the ice water. This will stop them from cooking and allow them to maintain their crisp-tender texture as well as retain their bright green color. Drain beans and lightly blot them with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
- In a large bowl combine, farro*, green beans, red onion, carrots, cranberries, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and herbs**. Toss to combine.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whisk until dressing is emulsified.
- Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
**If you are making the salad ahead, wait until you're ready to serve before adding the herbs. This will keep them bright and fresh. Salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. I usually add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving just to amplify the citrus notes.