Do you remember the recipe of my famous Italian rice salad (Insalata di riso)? That Italian classic very popular in summer at parties, pick- nick and cookout? Today I’m posting a very similar one, but in a vegetarian version and prepared with a hulled wheat which is not gluten free but with a high nutrition value (over 16% protein): FARRO. The reason I haven’t posted this recipe before (even if it is absolutely one of my favorite in the warm season) is because I thought FARRO was impossible to find here in Mid West or at least too expensive. Guess what? Yesterday I found it at my local groceries store, at a very affordable price and few hours after I was already cooking it! For those who are not familiar with FARRO I can add that it’s a simple grain of 28 chromosomes that pre-dates spelt. It is prepared like brown rice and cooks in about 40 minutes (or can be soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time). It makes a fabulous pilaf, grain salad, risotto, addition to soup, or sprouted for breads and salads. When cooked, its dark, plump berries add sweet, full-bodied flavor, chewy texture, and high nutritional value (as already told) to every meal. It is a lovely, versatile grain very used in the Italian cousin.
My family and I love eating “farro” in a vegetarian way, mixed with green and black olives, tomatoes, basil, sea salt and extravergin olive oil. This salad is perfect for a refreshing meal at home or to take away, wonderful for parties and cookout, and can last – if refrigerated and well stored – for a few days. It can be considered a full meal (remember FARRO’s high protein content!), but – depending on tastes – can be enriched with tuna, salmon, eggs, cheese or whatever you’d like. The method to prepare it it’s simple: cut in small pieces all the “fresh” ingredients, and toss in the Farro once cooked, drained and cooled off.
2-4 servings INGREDIENTS
7.05 oz. (200 gr.) pearled farro
6 oz. (1 can) green olives
6 oz. (1 can) black olives
2-3 handful cherry tomatoes
optional: 1 garlic clove finely chopped
sea salt to taste
olive oil to taste
Farro doesn’t need to be soaked overnight before being cooked unless you want it to be ready in less that 40 minutes. The label usually describes the cooking method and the pack I bought (exactly like the Italian one) needs to be rinsed in cold water and then dried in a colander, then put in a large pot with enough water. The proportion indicated in my farro is 25 oz. (0,75 l.) water per each 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) farro.
In our case, to cook approximately 7.05 oz. (200 gr.) farro pour it in a pot filled with 50 oz. (1.5 l.) water. Bring it to boil, then cover with a lid and let it cook at low heat for 35-40 minutes.
PREPARE THE DRESSING
While the FARRO cooks, you have plenty of time to prepare the dressing: wash the cherry tomatoes very well, cut them in half and take away the seeds, then cut them in even smaller pieces and let them drain in a small strainer. Then drain very well the olives and cut them in small pieces. Cut even the fresh basil as small as you prefer. If you don’t mind the taste of garlic, chop very finely a garlic clove.
Toss all these ingredients together in a nice bowl, and dress with few tbs. of extravergin olive oil and sea salt to taste (be aware: olives are quite salty, so be careful when you add the salt!). Finally, add the cooled and drained farro and mix the ingredients very well but gently to avoid smashing and pureeing the whole thing.
YOU ARE DONE!!! The only bad news is that your salad is not ready to be eaten yet: it needs to stay a few hours properly covered and refrigerated so the flavor of the dressing will be absorbed by the Farro and make it extra tasty, and the salad will be exactly as refreshing as you would wish in a hot summer day!
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIPS: – This salad is quiet easy to be made but It takes some time to get ready so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to prepare it a day before consuming it.
– Don’t underestimate the importance of draining the tomatoes. Some of them sometimes can be very watery and if not get rid off the excess of water your salad will become a disastrous bland soup!
– Be careful to not overcook the FARRO: you don’t want it to become mushy but to keep its nice full-bodied flavor and texture.
– I usually eyeball the ingredients so it was particularly hard on me this time to give you exact quantities. So do not hesitate to add or take away some of the ingredients if they don’t match your tastes.
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog again! I hope you liked my recipe and I am curious to know if FARRO was familiar to you before reading my post.. .was it?
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