Fruity nutty farro salad
I’m a big fan of using dried fruits and nuts in salads, but the combination always needs to be offset by something tangy or savory. In this grain salad recipe, the vinegar, mustard and scallions do the trick. It’s most delicious at room temperature, making it an ideal dish for a picnic – or for lunch at your desk for that matter.
Farro is a seriously underused whole grain, at least outside of Italy. Admittedly, it isn’t readily available in most U.S. supermarkets, but you can find it at many natural foods stores, or on Amazon. And if you don’t have any on hand, the recipe below is also good made with barley.
Fruity Nutty Farro Salad
2 cups farro
6 cups water
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (use gluten-free vinegar if you prefer)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds or roughly chopped pistachios, toasted
2-3 scallions (depending on size), sliced
2/3 cup dried whole cherries, preferably unsweetened
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
Toast the nuts and set aside. Soak the farro in a bowl of water for 30 minutes, then drain and place in a medium saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Cook until tender but still quite chewy, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the brand of farro. Drain well and put in a serving bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the orange juice, vinegars and mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the warm farro and stir to combine. Let cool for 20 minutes or more, then add the remaining ingredients. Season to taste, but be cautious with the salt as it can overwhelm the delicate sweetness of this dish. Add a bit of extra balsamic vinegar if needed to balance the flavors.