Not too long ago I came across the idea of “Super Salad Bowls” in Real Simple Magazine. Its a mix of grains, vegetables, warm and cool, creamy and crunchy ingredients. I like to do salads that have a base of whole grain, so I decided to use farro for this recipe. Farro is a chewy, nutty strain of Italian wheat that adds whole-grain goodness and an unexpected texture to salad. First, I roasted the carrots with lemon, a little bit of honey, fresh thyme and a pinch of nutmeg to bring out the full flavor in carrots. If you don’t like carrots you can always use something else. I think roasted cauliflower would be nice too. Then, I sautéed the mushrooms until they started to caramelized and added a touch of balsamic vinegar at the end to bring the nutty flavor. I love using mushrooms in salads, but again, you can substitute mushrooms for grilled chicken or maybe black beans. So many options…
I finished the salad off with a fresh herb dressing, crumbled feta and chopped almonds. The flavors all mixed wonderfully together and I particularly liked the combination of warm and cool ingredients. This recipe is just a guidance, use your imagination and your favorite veggies and grains.
- 1 cup uncooked farro ( see here how to cook farro); about 2 cups cooked farro
- 2 large carrots, cut 1 1/2-inch pieces)
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 2-3 fresh springs thyme or pinch of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
- Pinch nutmeg
- 3.5 oz mushrooms ( I used beech mushrooms)
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 avocado, cut into chunks
- 1 cup shelled peas (frozen are fine if it’s what is available to you
- ½ cup feta cheese
- ½ cup almonds, crushed or chopped
Fresh Herb Dressing
- ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
- 1 small minced garlic clove
- 1/3 cup packed fresh herbs (such as parsley and dill)
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water to thin as necessary
- While the farro is cooking, prep the vegetables.
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss together carrots, 1/2 sliced lemon, thyme, honey, pinch of nutmeg and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet tossing once, about 20 minutes.
- Sauté mushrooms with 1 tablespoon oil until they start to caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end.
- Slice avocado and shell the peas.
- Make dressing: Puree all the dressing ingredients together in a blender, adding water to thin as necessary and stopping when the texture feels right to you. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3 days.
- Toss the salad ingredients together with dressing; top with feta cheese and almonds; serve immediately.