Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Warm Farro Salad with Yam and Kale

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I've been so busy recently that I can barely dress myself in the morning, nevermind cooking. We subsisted on veggie burgers and leftovers for awhile, but enough is enough! I will not let 12-hour workday and 2-hour commute deter me from having a good meal. So we have here a warm farro salad with some nice winter produce and herbs. It's surprisingly delicious with various great textures. I added mint in the herb mix for the hell of it. It's an ingredient that I tend to shy away from for fear that it might overpower the dish. But it turns out, mint complemented everything quite nicely.

And! I worked with farro for the first time. It's a small grain that looks a little like pearl barley but cooks much faster, about 25 to 30 with no soaking time -- perfect for a busy girl like me. This recipe is inspired by a similar recipe from Coconut & Quinoa, a vegetarian food blog that I discovered recently, but I made it my own with various substitutions and additions.

You'll need:
  • 1 cup of dried farro (try your local specialty food store or Whole Foods), rinsed
  • 2 medium garnet yams, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 1 bunch of kale, thoroughly cleaned, stem removed and sliced into 2-inch strips
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of water
  • 10 mint leaves, chiffonade
  • 5 to 8 large basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 6 ounces of feta, diced small
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil,divided
  • big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
Begin by adding water and farro plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt into a medium pot. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Drain and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss diced yams with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and generous amount of black pepper. Make sure yam pieces are well coated with olive oil. Spread yam out in a single layer in an oven-proof pan or on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender.

In a large skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and red pepper flakes. Add kale and season with a pinch of salt. Reduce to low and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Kale is cooked when tender and tastes less bitter.

To a large mixing bowl, add farro, roasted yam, wilted kale along with chickpeas, mint, basil, parsley, and feta. Drizzle lemon juice and toss. Serve warm.

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