Farro is an ancient grain that is quickly becoming trendy. Originally from the Middle East, this grain is ideal for athletes because it is a carbohydrate that is also great source of protein and fiber. You will probably see farro popping up on restaurant menus this spring, but here is an easy recipe, filled with colorful spring vegetables, that you can make at home.
(Makes 4 servings)
6 ounces baby carrots (preferably rainbow carrots)
6 ounces green or wax beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
6 ounces English peas OR sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings removed
1 yellow squash, halved and sliced
6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cups packed baby spinach
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon agave
1 cup dry farro*
*Farro can now be found at Costco, Trader Joes, Sprouts, Sunflower or check the “health food” isle at regular markets
1. Cook the farro, with ½ teaspoon of the salt, according to the package instructions, making sure not to overcook. The farro should have a bit of a chewy texture to it.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, along with the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and peas and cook another 2 minutes. Drain the hot water.
3. Transfer the veggies to a large bowl of ice water and drain again. This will “shock” the veggies and help them keep a vibrant color.
4. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the drained veggies, along with the yellow squash and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, agave, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and fresh parsley.
6. Transfer the veggies from the pan to the bowl, along with the cherry tomatoes and toss with the vinaigrette.
7. Add the spinach and farro to the bowl and toss until all the ingredients are well combined. Serve in a large bowl or on individual plates.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes at Fitfoodbyjess.com or on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.
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