Have you tried farro? Made from hulled grains of three ancient forms of wheat, cooked farro remains chewy and soaks up flavors easily. It provides a solid dose of protein and fiber and can stand in for quinoa or rice in many dishes. Whole-grain farro requires pre-soaking and a longer cook time, but semi-pearled farro cooks up in about the same time as rice. It can be cooked in the same way as pasta -- in boiling water until al dente and then drained. Follow package directions for the best results.
This particular version was based on a recipe from The Gluten-Free Goddess, although using farro instead of quinoa took away its gluten-free status! I wanted a firm, nutty grain that could stand up to the chilly-weather flavors of the other ingredients. Here's my spin on her recipe:
You will need:
- 1 cup dry farro, cooked in broth and cooled
- About a cup of baby spinach or other baby greens, roughly chopped
- 1 large pear or apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
- A handful of dried cranberries (If you can find the orange-flavored variety, they're especially delicious here!)
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (or something similarly mild)
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- salt and pepper
- Place the farro, greens, fruit, and pecans in a large serving bowl.
- Add the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste to a jar with a lid. Cover and shake to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the farro mixture and toss gently to combine. Serve at room temperature as a main dish or a side salad.
This goes well with pita chips, especially Trader Joe's cranberry and pumpkin seed version!