A peek inside my kitchen pantry would have one thinking that I’m either a whole grains hoarder or some type of survivalist stocking up for Armageddon–I absolutely love whole grains and keep quite a bit of them on hand. Contrary to popular belief, they are not difficult to cook and are not labor-intensive. In fact, it’s quite the opposite–a thorough rinse, a 20 – 30 minute boil and a quick toss with a few additional ingredients and you can have a meal in no time.
Though whole grains, also known as ancient grains, have been gaining in popularity farro (pronounced FAHR-oh) remains a mystery to many home cooks. So what is it exactly? Farro is an Italian wheat grain that, due to its chew, nutty flavor and versatility, has become the darling of chefs everywhere and has been popping up on restaurant menus in recent years. It is one of those “blank canvas” grains that lends itself well to a variety of add-ins and ingredients.
As the leaves begin to change color and we enter the cooler seasons, I wanted to create a salad using the flavors and gorgeous jewel-colored produce of autumn. This salad has a lot going on in terms of texture–the slight bite of the al dente farro, the softness of the roasted acorn squash and the crisp tang of the pomegranate seeds ensure that your palate won’t get bored, I promise.
FARRO SALAD WITH ACORN SQUASH, KALE & POMEGRANATE
Serves: 4 as a side dish or 2 as a hearty main
INGREDIENTS – For the salad
1 cup ShopRite 100% Whole Grain Farro
3 cups water
3 teaspoons salt
Pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1 medium acorn squash
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
4 cups kale (torn into bite-size pieces)
INGREDIENTS – For the vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh chives (chopped)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Wash the acorn squash and slice lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and stringy flesh; discard. Slice squash into 1/2-inch thick crescents; place slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste). Roast in oven on middle rack for 20 minutes, flipping slices halfway through.
Under running water, rinse the farro thoroughly. Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan; add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
In a large pan over a medium-high flame, heat approximately 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Add kale and stir until wilted; approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the squash, pomegranate seeds, and kale to the farro; toss to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, chives, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat. The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a POTLUCK blogger, I received the ShopRite 100% Whole Grain Farro for free.