Thursday, October 9, 2014

Southwestern Farro Salad

I go through blogger phases.  When I discover someone that I like and trust, I binge on their recipes for a while.  You know it's true.  How many times have I talked about A Couple Cooks, Annie's Eats or The Pioneer Woman?  Well, get ready for a mini binge on Elly Says Opa.

 Elly is a great blogger and cook with a Greek heritage, so lots of her recipes are Greek (like that weirdly delicious semolina  cake), but there are also plenty of other things thrown in there, as you are about to see.  I've made a few of her recipes throughout the past few years, but lately she's just been reading my mind and posting recipes that are perfect for me.

For example, she must have realized that, since my lovely broccoli and cheese farro casserole, I've been dying to try farro again, so she came up with this southwestern farro salad.  She even talked about how it was a great thing to bring to work, and it happened to be right when school started up again and needed to start thinking about work lunches.  She also says it's full of protein from the farro and beans, without adding any meat; you know I love that.  Plus, and most importantly - this salad is delicious.

First of all, any time a recipe calls for pepitas, I get exited; those little crunchy gems are among my favorite seeds!  Plus, they get toasted for a little while so they're extra crunchy (just don't add them into your salad too early if you're trying to make it ahead of time; they do lose their crunchiness!) Then there is corn, black beans, and tomatoes - you've got yourself a little southwestern vegetable flair going there.  The dressing is a mix of apple cider vinegar, light sour cream, and the juice of a lime.  The sour cream makes the dressing creamy (but still healthy!) and the lime juice is just tart enough to make all the other flavors pop.  Add some cilantro and monterrey jack cheese (oh yeah!) into the farro-y mix, and voila: a wonderful salad that is healthy but filling, good as a side or as a main dish.  Mark and I were a little bit obsessed with this salad.  We may or may not have eaten it for days at work, scraping the leftover container clean quicker than we expected.  If you're not sure about farro, this is the recipe to win you over.


southwestern farro salad
from Elly Says Opa

1 cup dry farro
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded and diced, or 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces monterrey jack, pepper jack, or cheddar cheese
handful of chopped cilantro
for dressing:
1 small jalapeño, finely minced (I skipped this)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons light sour cream
1 tablespoons canola or olive oil


1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the farro.  Cook for 15 - 20 minutes (it should still have some chew to it).  Drain the farro, return it to the empty pot, and cover with a lid.  Allow to steam for 10 minutes.  Then place in a large bowl so it can start to cool.

2) Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the pepitas and cook 1 - 2 minutes or until golden.  Be careful - if your oil is too hot, they have a tendency to pop right out of the pan.  Set aside.

3)  To make the dressing, whisk together the jalapeño, vinegar, lime juice, and sour cream.  Then slowly add the oil, while continuing to whisk.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4) To the bowl with the farro, add the pepitas, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, and a little salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the farro mixture ,stirring lightly to combine all the ingredients and distribute the dressing evenly.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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