Mediterranean Farro Salad with Chickpeas

This is a delicious, nutritious, and hearty salad that lasts for days in the fridge.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Farro Tabbouleh with Feta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, halved, seeded, and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if you like parsley, use the entire bunch)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 6 ounces feta, 1/2-inch diced-not crumbled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, drained

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the farro and place it in a large saucepan with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. I highly recommend cooking farro the way it is prepared in Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. 
  3. Drain the farro and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the warm farro to the vegetables and herbs and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Carefully stir in the feta and olives.

*I have found with most beans and grain salads that much less oil is needed in the dressing than typical green salads. Therefor typical oil to acid ratios don’t apply.


Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. It is loaded with vegetables and full of flavor. It makes a great side dish, pot luck dish, or even a meal on its own. It’s great cold or at room temperature, and holds up beautifully in the fridge. I modified the recipe slightly to reduce unnecessary oil. I have also simplified the directions. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled) (I use 1/2 pound)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 2 tablespoons – there is plenty of oil already on the vegetables)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425-F.
  2. In a large bowl toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long slices, approximately 1/2 inch thick). Lightly brush the slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once they are coated, cut the slices into cubes. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables. (The reason I add oil to the eggplant separately from the other vegetables is because eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge and will prevent the other vegetables from getting coated).
  4. Pour the vegetables onto a sheet pan (two sheet pans may be necessary to prevent the vegetables from being over crowded). Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the package.
  6. For the dressing, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  8. Add the roasted vegetables and toss. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil.