This hearty salad is filling and yet incredibly light. It puts spring’s burgeoning bounty of fresh herbs and vibrant vegetables to task, and the nutty flavor and chewy texture of the farro makes this a perfect main dish. The quantities in the ingredient list are more of a suggestion than a strict protocol. Reduce or increase the amount of vegetables and farro according to your liking. When it comes to mint, however, take heed. The mint is rather crucial to capture that vibrant spring taste. You can make extra servings of this salad in advance. The salad keeps incredibly well in the refrigerator for days, although adding a bit more lemon and olive oil prior to eating will add needed moisture. The recipe can be altered slightly to evoke the flavor of any season by substituting seasonal vegetables and herbs.
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
2 cups farro, pre-cooked and cooled
1 bunch asparagus, chopped bite size
1 ½ cups spinach leaves, ripped bite site
½ cup thinly sliced spring onions or green onions
2 medium sized carrots, sliced thin or roughly chopped
¼ cup Castelvetrano green olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
¼ - ½ cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
4-5 chive blossoms (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ - ½ cup crumbled fata cheese (optional)
1 teaspoon Spring Herb Salt (sub ½ teaspoon Maldon salt)
Directions: Prepare an ice bath for the asparagus. Bring about 3-4 cups of lightly salted water to a boil and add asparagus. Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes only. Remove the asparagus and submerge in the ice water and stir until the asparagus starts to cool off considerably. Let stand in the ice water until ready to use.
You can cook the farro in the same water you cook the asparagus to make things easier. See the recipe notes below for cooking the farro.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the farro, spinach, carrots, green olives, mint, parsley, chives, chive blossoms and lemon zest and toss to mix, making sure all the ingredients are well combined. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice over the top and sprinkle the regular salt on top. Stir well. Sprinkle the feta over the top and gently fold a little of it inside the salad. Toss a bit of Herbal Roots Spring Herb Salt over the top. Serve room temperature or cold.
Farro is easy to cook. It’s cooked about the same way you would cook pasta. Rinse the farro well with cold water before cooking, which cleans away any dust which can settle on the grain. Boil about 3 times as much water (water to grain ratio), add and cook the farro until tender but still chewy. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer and allow to cool.
Farro is an ancient grain. There are three different types of farro: pearled (the most common in the USA, semi-pearled and whole (the most common in Italy). Whole farro is the entire grain with all the bran. Semi-pearled has had some of the bran removed and pearled farro has no bran at all. The pearled takes the least amount of time to cook (about 15 minutes versus the whole which takes the longest at about 30-40 minutes).