Rich in fiber and protein, this grain salad has farro, an ancient Mediterranean grain, as its base. A pantry staple in Italy, this whole grain has a chewy texture and nutty flavor that combines well with roasted vegetables, feta and pomegranate seeds for a delightful mix of textures and flavors.
If you’d like, add sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds. (Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to pop and are just fragrant, 2-3 minutes.) You can also add salmon for a protein boost; or omit the feta for a vegan dish.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 cup whole-grain farro
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 large pepper)
- 1 cup chopped zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds or toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
- ¼ cup feta, crumbled
- ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds (or arils) from whole fruit or prepackaged
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook the farro: Rinse 1 cup farro and add to a large saucepan over medium heat. Toast grains until fragrant and just slightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Add 4 cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until farro is cooked and has a chewy consistency, about 30 minutes. Drain excess water using a strainer and spread farro on a large plate to let cool for 5 minutes.
3. Roast the vegetables: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, oregano, 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss together, then spread onto baking sheet.
Roast until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice mustard, maple syrup, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste. Set aside.
5. Cut pomegranate in half. Over a large bowl, securely hold a pomegranate half cut side down in your palm. Using a wooden spoon, forcefully smack the pomegranate skin multiple times so the seeds drop into the bowl. Add cold water to bowl to cover seeds. Remove fragments of the pith from the surface; drain seeds to remove excess liquid. Reserve other pomegranate half in an airtight container in the fridge for another use.
6. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, mix together the farro, roasted vegetables, vinaigrette and parsley. Top with almonds or pumpkin seeds, if using. Sprinkle with feta and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
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Rahaf Al Bochi is a registered dietitian nutritionist, media expert and founder of Olive Tree Nutrition, a nutrition consulting company specializing in Mediterranean eating and women’s health.