So there is not really a recipe for this recipe. This Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad with Arugula is what I eat for lunch. Like, a lot. During the month of June, I ate ridiculously healthily. Egg whites for breakfast. Salads with tons of fresh veggies and no dressing for lunches. Lean proteins or more salad for dinner. I lost my muffin top and also the will to eat that healthy. While I loved how I looked, the minute I went on my Palm Springs retreat, and had delicious food again, I was off the wagon. When I finally wised up and figured out that I need to continue to eat well, but maybe not in such a rigid way, I started eating this salad. This salad is hearty and satisfying and I think, still pretty healthy. Since there is a little bit of prep work involved, I try to do the rest of my diner prep for the week at the same time.
I try to cut all the vegetables and bag them up based on what recipe they go with all in one afternoon. While I may spend more time in the kitchen that day (usually a Sunday) it makes cooking during the week so much faster. I make the farro and roast the veggies for this salad ahead of time so that they are ready to grab. That is one of my biggest problems. If I am hungry, and there isn't a good, healthy option readily available, I'm going straight for chips and salsa or cookies. I've recently become addicted to iced coffees which seem to help me keep going throughout the afternoons. Going back to school made me tired. I need a little pick me up. So I usually grab or make an iced coffee to have with me in the kitchen on prep days (wine makes me too sleepy) And yes, that is a zombie growing in the container of water. Just try to tell me you don't have one of those on your counter.
I buy this Trader Joe's 10 Minute Farro 5 bags at a time. I love it! For this salad I cook it with chicken stock but it takes on a really lovely, rich flavor when cooked in beef stock. Really you could use either but I like the chicken stock for the salad to keep the flavor a little bit lighter. I find that it takes longer than 10 minutes to get it to the texture that I like, but it still doesn't take too long.
Follow the directions of your choice on the package. I usually bring one of those big boxes of chicken stock to a boil, then add the farro. I bring it back to a boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes, testing it after about 15 minutes and adding more time as needed. I like it a bit firm still, it can get kind of mushy if you over cook it.
I'm grateful that my oldest son is showing interest in cooking and I've loved having him in the kitchen with me lately. (thanks Guy and Rachel – your Kid's Cook Off really helped.) This is a great recipe to have the kids help with because there is a bunch of veggies to prep. We put on some music and start cutting.
This recipe can be adapted based on what is in season. On my last trip to Trader Joe's they didn't have zucchini or at least I didn't see any zucchini. But they did have this squash that I have never tried before. I decided to substitute this instead, I think it is a Delicata? You could also do sweet potatoes or butternut squash. The squash helps make it a little more hearty in the absence of meat.
I have been all about roasted cherry tomatoes lately. Again, these are great to have kids help with. You probably don't really need to cut them in half but I like to. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic, a little olive oil and sea salt – YUM! Once these are roasted, I keep them separate from the rest of the roasted veggies. That way I can add them to other dishes throughout the week. These are delicious scrambled with egg whites and topped with arugula for breakfast. Or they are fantastic on some crusty toast and avocado for a light lunch or snack. Or over pasta for a really sweet, easy sauce.
Cover your pans with foil for easy clean up. I roast all the vegetables at the same time at about 375 for 15 minutes and then watch them to see if they are cooked or burning. Have I mentioned that I have no cooking training? That's how I do it. I know my pans are overcrowded so the vegetables sort of steam instead of really roasting and getting all browned and caramely. If you want to get a better brown, put less on the pans. Which means you might have to do it in batches. I ain't got time for that.
This cheese is amazing. And while I know that cheese is not something you should eat en mass, the smallest little bit in this salad really makes a difference. It's super creamy. I only use about a tablespoon. In the few months that I have been learning about healthier eating, I've realized that you should try to find really flavorful items that don't add too much in the way of fats, etc. While there are certainly things that are better for you than cheese, this cheese packs so much flavor that you only need a small amount. If you don't like black pepper, you can also try the red wine soaked version also at Trader Joe's (which is also AMAZING on top of the farro cooked in beef stock – it becomes super rich, risotto like, and it is total comfort food.)
Like I mentioned above, I started looking for foods that have tons of flavor. Arugula is one of the items that I use in a lot of dishes. I'm kind of obsessed with it. I love the peppery flavor and how it can pair with cold or warm dishes. The arugula adds a nice fresh flavor to this salad and is a great way to add in some greens to your meal. I simply add the cold farro to it and then add my other ingredients. Since everything is already prepared and ready to go, this salad is super quick to put together and perfect for busy weekdays.
I use a little bit less than a tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of Maldon sea salt to the top of the salad at the very end. This brand, California Olive Ranch, is my favorite. Their oils are so flavorful. Look for their EVOO that says “mild and buttery.” Delicious!
On this day I was starving and so I was fairly heavy-handed with the ingredients. I didn't plan on sharing this recipe on the blog until I was just starting to prepare everything so it took longer to make than usual (stopping to take photos of each step can be super time-consuming!). But how good does that look! Look at all those colors!
This can easily be modified to suit your taste preferences. A nice quality parmesan cheese would also add a little creamy, nuttiness in place of the Toscano. Any kind of squash could be used, And you could substitute the arugula for another kind of flavorful green. I love this salad because it keeps me full but is packed with yummy veggies and mostly healthy ingredients. But really, what is life without a little bit of cheese, right?
- 2 zucchini, or other squash, chopped
- 1 yellow onion chopped, red onion will work too
- 2 red bell pepper, chopped
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 containers of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
- olive oil
- sea salt
- 1 package of Trader Joe's 10 Minute Farro
- 1 box of Chicken Stock, I don't know how much is in the box - about 4 cups I would guess
To make salad
- Toscano Cheese, shredded
- Prepared Farro
- Roasted veggies
- Roasted cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- sea salt
- Clean and chop all veggie and toss with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
- To keep on the healthier side, consider using a spray oil to ensure you aren't using too much oil.
- Roast on cookie sheets for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Clean and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Spread out on cookie sheet or roasting pan.
- Add crushed garlic
- Toss with oil and sea salt
- Roast at the same time as the veggies above
- NOTE: these burn easier than the rest of the veggies because of the natural sugars, keep an eye on them.
- Follow recipe on bag (but basically you will boil the chicken stock, add the farro and simmer for about 10-20 minutes)
- Shred Toscano cheese
- To a bowl add a handful or two of arugula.
- Top with 1/2 - 3/4 cup of farro
- Add as many roasted veggies and tomatoes as you want
- Add about 1 tablespoon of cheese
- Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt
- Eat up.