i love summer eating. as much as i’m a glutton for heavy pastas and braised meats, in the winter i crave these food for comfort and warmth. it sounds so picturesque to “curl up with a big bowl of soup”, but i actually hate being cold, and would never eat soup to stay warm again if i could. maybe because i was born in northern ontario, where the winters are bone chilling cold, it’s just engrained in me to crave heat, or maybe it’s the italian in me, always craving a mediterranean diet, who knows. all i know is that in the winter i can’t stand to eat raw veggies – everything must be roasted, and would die before catching me with a salad. but during the summer, eating is easy.
throw a protein on the grill with a handful of veggies, and serve with a giant salad and i’m happy as a clam. i’ve been making this farro salad for the last little bit, chopping up whatever veggies i have in my fridge eating it for lunch and dinner – it’s fresh and filling and totally versatile. farro is a chewy, italian grain grown in tuscany and abruzzo. i love using it instead of typical quinoa or couscous because it has a really lovely nutty flavour, and feels more substantial and hearty (even though i’m about lighter eating and raw foods in the summer, i still need to feel full!).
the key to a good grain salad is all about the dressing. you need good oil, lots of acid, salt and herbs – always! use what you have on hand; i sometimes use olive oil or walnut oil, lemon juice, white balsamic or apple cider vinegar for acid, plenty of kosher salt and fresh pepper, and a few handfuls of roughly chopped herbs like parsley, basil, chives, mint – whatever is sprouting up from your garden. there’s not really even a recipe, i just taste as i go, adding more of whatever the salad is asking for until it tastes perfect. i love to cook this way all summer – it’s cheap, easy and delicious, leaving me more time for riding around the city on my bike or tanning on my roof!
farro & raw veggie salad
*makes enough to enjoy all week!
1 package farro (i use presidents choice because that’s usually what i can find here), cooked according to package directions and cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/3 cucumber, diced
a few radishes, thinly sliced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1 big handful arugula
a few cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful pepitas, sunflower seeds or other nuts
glug of olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
salt & pepper
add everything to a large bowl and toss. adjust lemon & salt as needed. (that’s really it!!!!)