Good morning! Not only am I posting another salad today, but it also has “sweet” in the title… just like Monday’s. I didn’t plan it that way, but sometimes you just need a week full of salads, you know? Especially after a weekend in Vegas.
Can I write about the weekend on a Wednesday? I didn’t have time to do it for Monday’s post, so let’s just go with it, even though it’s hump day.
I was in Vegas this past weekend on my company’s annual trip. Vegas is not really my scene, especially given the 7-hour bus ride each way, but I had a really fantastic time! There was a lot of food, a lot of wine, and a lot of fun bonding time with co-workers. And the weather was also gorgeous, which was a perfect break from the cool temps I’m still not ready for here in northern Utah. But I have to say that the highlight of the weekend was this celebrity sighting:
Just Kody and Janelle out for date night on the strip! If you’ve ever watched Sister Wives, you’ll understand why I was so excited about this. Also, as a side note, I originally posed on Kody’s other side, but he asked me not to stand next to him for the picture. What?! This must be some sort of agreement he has with his wives… bizarre.
Another weekend highlight was actually the batch of Bloody Marys that a co-worker made to enjoy on the bus ride down. I had one (toward the end of the bus ride – not when we left at 6 am!) and I have to say it might be the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. I got the recipe from him and, although I’m a very inexpert mixologist, I’m determined to bring it to a blog near you sometime soon!
Anyway, I came back from the weekend with a very full tummy and a very sore throat, and am still digging myself out of the depths of my sleep deprivation. Vegas will do that to a girl! I’m excited to get back to my normal eating, sleeping, and (lack of) drinking routines. This salad, followed by nine hours of sleep, is very much needed!
My mom introduced me to this farro salad when I was home in September. The recipe is originally from the Small Bites cookbook by Jennifer Joyce, and it’s not the first Small Bites recipe to appear on this site. My mom loves that cookbook… which is ironic, since it was given to her by an ex-boyfriend of mine whom she very much disliked. Anyway, both this salad and the cookbook are favorites of hers!
This is my mom’s version of the salad; she modified it to remove the cheese and anchovies in the original version. The combination of ingredients in here might sound odd – roasted cherry tomatoes, celery, and raisins – but the result is fantastic. Think a Thanksgiving stuffing (celery + raisins + herbs) but in farro salad form. Very tasty and interesting. Every bite had me going back for another because of the unique flavor combination. Add to that the awesome chewy farro texture, and I couldn’t get enough!
Let’s talk about farro for a sec. I don’t often cook with it because I have a hard time finding it, actually. Shopping for it for this recipe, I think I went to three grocery stores and still returned empty-handed! #firstworldproblems. But seriously, I was feeling the pain of readers who comment and email asking for substitutions because they can’t find a recipe ingredients. Should that be the case for you, I think this salad would also be great with spelt (yes, they are different!), wheat berries, quinoa, or wild rice. Go with one of the last two if you’d like to be gluten-free. I will say that I love the chewy texture and nutty flavor of farro here, so use it if it’s available to you! And make sure to buy extra so you can make this butternut squash farro risotto afterwards. Yumm, one of my faves.
This makes a large amount of salad, enough to almost fill up a casserole dish. It’s perfect for bringing to a potluck or party. I also think it’s most delicious the day after its made, or even just a few hours later, once the flavors have had a chance to hang out together and meld. Ideal for those of us who love to pack lunches for the week ahead of time! Make-ahead dishes for the win.
Enjoy my mom’s farro salad! Coming tomorrow: something chocolate, vegan, and not salad-y.
Sweet and Savory Farro Salad
Yields: 8 servings
For the farro salad:
- 1 3/4 cup farro
- 8 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 stalks celery heart, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in warm water
- small handful each of mint, basil and parsley leaves, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine vinear
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Add farro to a small pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 350. Toss halved tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until juicy and blistered.
- Add diced onion to a large bowl with lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes to mellow the flavor.
- To make the dressing, heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until fragrant and beginning to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining dressing ingredients.
- To the large bowl with the red onion, add the cooked farro, roasted tomatoes, celery, and raisins. Pour the dressing over the top and stir to combine. Finally, stir in the chopped herbs.
- Salad is delicious just after made, but is even better several hours later or the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to meld together. If refrigerating, bring up to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!