Big lunchtime salads have been my favourite midday meal for a while because they fill me up but don’t weigh me down for an afternoon of work. Daily creations change with the seasons, prompted by the endless inspiration of local produce.
Now that we are well into fall, healthy grains have taken the place of my leafy summer greens in those salads. I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping a bit of cooked quinoa or farro on hand in the refrigerator so my lunches can come together with minimal effort. Farro is a versatile ancient grain with a nutty flavour that pairs well with delicate tomatoes and mild herbs. Its delightfully chewy texture holds up well to bold vinaigrettes and the grains don’t get soggy overnight in the refrigerator.
I play around with toasted seeds, crumbled cheeses and loads of chopped vegetables to accompany my grains, but lately it’s been all about tomatoes. I still have a few ripening on the vines and they are just as sweet as can be! One of my favorite snacking foods has to be cherry tomatoes. Fresh from the vine, bursting with warm juices, and available in an assortment of bright colors, they are nature’s candy, in my opinion. Cherry tomatoes can be tossed into just about anything – halved on pizza, sprinkled on salads, stirred into pasta or slow roasted on focaccia or baguettes. In the garden, my daughter Clara picks enough to make a salad and then we head to the kitchen together.
Once you’ve stocked up on your favourite fall produce, try to use it up within a few days. Vegetables are at their nutritional peak immediately after harvesting.
This salad is filling enough to be the main attraction at a meal and is sure to please vegetarians, vegans and you!
Tomato farro salad recipe
- 1 cup farro
- 1 pint sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ head Romanesco cauliflower, chopped
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1 small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the farro under cool water; drain and add to a pot with 1 ½ cups of cool water. Cover and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or according to package directions. When farro is tender but still chewy, remove from heat and cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled farro, tomatoes, Romanesco, pepitas, red onion and parsley. Combine well.
In a small jar, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients. Cover with a lid and shake well to mix. Pour the vinaigrette over the farro salad and mix well.
Taste the salad and season to taste. Serve at once or refrigerate for up to two days.