Farro Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan

I love salads that you can make for a side and then enjoy as lunch the next day. This one uses a new grain for me, farro. It is an ancient Italian grain that was once used for pasta and bread before wheat was discovered. I was a little bit wary, as it sounded like it was going to be grain-like and taste like cardboard. But after the first bite, I was sold. Once cooked, farro almost has the consistency of pasta and has a ton of flavor. Obviously, I had to jazz it up a bit with some ingredients I had in the fridge, but it did not need too much. I love salads like this because you could easily make this with orzo, rice, pasta, or quinoa. It also makes a ton, so I have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow and I know it would feed a crowd for the future. Feel free to toss in any other vegetables that you love or use pine nuts instead of walnuts. I found the farro in the Italian foods section of the market by the pasta and rice. You might also want to check in the rice aisle by the grains. Bonus is it is a whole grain, full of fiber and protein. So eat up!

Farro Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan 
Forks & Amusement 2011
serves 6-8

1 lb farro
2 quarts chicken stock or water
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 2 cloves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more if you like it spicy
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (to toast, just place in a hot pan on the stove until toasted, flipping over the nuts every once in awhile)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cover the farro with cold water and soak up to 25 minutes. Drain and place in a pot. Cover with the stock, add some salt. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered about 25 minutes, of until tender. Drain and set aside to cool in the fridge or spread on a baking sheet first to cool faster. (can be done the day before)

Meanwhile, combine the mustard, vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil to make the dressing.

In a large serving bowl, add in the cooled farro. Add the onions, bell pepper, and walnuts. Pour the dressing over that and add the parmesan. Toss everything to coat evenly. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve at room temperature or cold. can be made 1 day in advance.


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