Pay attention, friends, I have a new favorite grain salad on the loose, and I’m stoked to share this beauty with you guys. Of course, most of my recipes these days, like this one, fit into the Lean Pantry model. Farro, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil & a natural sweetener are all LP stock list ingredients (meaning they should be stocked at all times). Then at the store, grab a couple carrots, red bell peppers & some cucumbers. Yep, that’s your grocery list for this one.
Now for some recipe details. I roast a head of garlic for this recipe which may seem aggressive, but roast garlic a couple times and you’ll be hooked. It’s stupid easy and adds complexity to any dish, particularly important for plant-based recipes. Yes, it takes 45-ish minutes to make roasted garlic, but it’s in the oven for 99% of those minutes, so you can be focused on whatever else you have going on.
Let’s take this a step further. You only need a half head of the roasted garlic for the dressing in this recipe. Is it really worth it? Well, yes. But also a good opportunity to prep another dish that also uses a half head of garlic. My rec? I suggest also whipping up some of my savory cashew cream sauce, which also uses a half head of roasted garlic. I use my savory cashew cream in countless ways including with pasta, on pizza & in quesadillas. Make it while whipping up this farro salad and you just got a step closer to a plant-based dinner later in the week. Get the recipe here!
Back to today’s recipe. While I’m sure loads of people could eat this farro salad as a meal & be totally satisfied, I like to round it out with some other Lean Pantry approved items like baby greens (those should always be in the fridge, washed & ready to go). If serving with said baby greens, my Lean Pantry lemon-tahini sauce is a total winner for this one. Feeling extra frisky? Add some of my crispy baked tofu into the mix, or your protein of choice (chicken, chickpeas, steak, feta, you get the idea).
And the last thing I’ll say about this recipe is that it’s extremely meal prep friendly. It holds its flavor & texture, even if in the fridge all week. Ok, recipe time!
Farro & Carrot Salad with Sweet Red Pepper Vinaigrette
1 head garlic
2 sweet red bell peppers
Sea salt, fine grain
1.5 cups dry farro
2 cups diced cucumbers (I used 3 mini cukes)
1.5 cups shredded carrot (2-3 carrots)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons liquid sweetener (like honey or maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
First, prep garlic for roasting. Carefully cut through the whole head of garlic, cross-wise, about 1/4” from the root end. Add a touch of olive oil to one of the cut ends, then hold two ends of the head together as you wrap in aluminum foil. Roast directly on the rack in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling.
While garlic roasts, get the peppers roasting. Remove seeds/ribs from the bell peppers and cut into strips. Roast on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Toss pepper strips then roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until strips are very soft & starting to char.
While peppers & garlic roast, cook farro according to package instructions. Generally speaking, add 1.5 cups dry farro, 4.5 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a small sauce pan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender but al dente. Drain. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool. This is a good time to prep your cucumbers & carrots.
When garlic & peppers are finished roasting, make dressing. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sweetener, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, roasted peppers & half of the roasted garlic to a blender or an immersion blender vessel. Blend until smooth. If you LOVE garlic, you can for sure add all of the roasted garlic.
When farro is cooled, mix with shredded carrots, diced cucumbers & vinaigrette. Season with salt to taste. Serve cold or room temperature.