April is a tricky month to be writing about seasonal food. It’s spring (nearly summer) here in Austin, so we’re dining al fresco, while some of you are likely still wearing winter coats. Spring veggies are starting to fill our farmers markets, but given the variation from region to region, I’m just not sure what’s growing near you.
So I bring to you the whatever-your-season grain salad. It’s more of a concept than a recipe and can be adjusted to use whatever veggies you might have on hand. The basic formula is this: a hearty grain, a handful of greens, a crunchy seasonal vegetable, chopped nuts, and possibly some cheese. I tossed mine with olive oil, squeezes of lemon and a few spoonfuls of kale pesto that I had made earlier in the week.
Farro Salad with Kale Pesto
*serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side . Scale accordingly.
- 1 cup farro, cooked (about 1/2 cup uncooked, plus 1 cup water)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- a big handful of arugula
- 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- a few good squeezes of lemon plus some lemon zest
- a few heaping spoonfuls of kale pesto (or any pesto)
- a small handful of chopped walnuts
- 2 radishes, sliced
- generous grating of parmesan cheese (a crumbly goat or feta cheese would have also been nice here)
- pinches of red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper to taste
- Start by cooking the farro. Bring 1/2 cup farro and 1 cup (salted) water to a gentle boil. Reduce and simmer for about 25-35 minutes. (Check it at the 15-20 minute mark, give it a stir to make sure it’s not burning/sticking to the bottom of the pot. It’s done when it’s tender and chewy, not crunchy and not mushy).
- Drain farro, shaking out excess water. Toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper and the arugula.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, lemon, lemon zest, some of the pesto, some of the grated cheese and toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Finish the salad with radishes, a few more dollops of pesto, and another grating of cheese on top.
*photos & recipe by Love & Lemons