Farro is an ancient wheat grain that I somehow always forget about. I typically go for couscous or quinoa in the same grocery store aisle, forgetting about these little pearls of high-fiber goodness. (Bonus: Farro's also awesome for those who are sensitive to gluten - while it's not gluten-free, it contains lower levels than most of today's wheat products, and, if prepared properly, the gluten is pre-digested and broken down by sprouting and fermentation (like a sourdough process, essentially)).
To up farro's nutritional ante in this recipe, I added black-eyed peas for protein, red pepper and arugula for texture and nutrients, and plenty of garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese, and even a little white wine for extra flavor.
Farro Salad with Black-Eyed Peas, Red Pepper, & Arugula
Yields: 6 servings
-3 cups homemade vegetable stock (or low-sodium store-bought)
-1 cup dry farro
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 small red onion, diced
-1 large garlic clove, minced
-1 large red bell pepper, diced
-1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
-Pinch of crushed red pepper
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-Splash of dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
-2 large handfuls of baby arugula
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1.) In a large pot, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Stir in farro, and lower heat to simmer; let cook for 20 minutes, or until farro is tender. Strain any excess stock and set aside.
2.) In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is almost translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bell pepper and cook until it begins to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
3.) Add black-eyed peas, crushed red pepper, and salt and black pepper to the saute pan. Add a splash of wine, scraping any excess flavor from the bottom of the pan. Add the arugula and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
4.) Off the heat, add in the Parmesan cheese and a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir black-eyed pea, pepper, and arugula mixture into the cooked farro. Serve salad warm, or refrigerate and serve cold later. (It's even better the next day!).
This salad made a delectable side dish alongside some vegetarian sausages and a green salad, but a big bowl of it also made the perfect work day lunch.
Do you have a favorite farro recipe?