Farro and Roast Cauliflower Salad

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I know I’m a little late to jump the farro bandwagon but I’ve just discovered this delicious little grain and I’m hooked. For those who (like me a few weeks ago) have not cooked with farro, it can best be described as an ancient strain of wheat; an heirloom version of spelt. While it is cooked in water it does not become gluggy like some grains can; instead it achieves a crunchy, chewy texture that is ideal for salads. I’ve become a bit obsessed with this pint-sized, nutty delight and have gone into salad making overdrive. I’ve read that it’s also a great grain to make with risotto with if you are feeling like a change from arborio.

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Out of the numerous salads I’ve made with farro, this recipe is my favourite. I think the combination of roasted vegetables with pesto and crunchy grains is a winner. Dutch carrots or baby carrots are one of my favourite root vegetables simply because there is so much flavour already jam-packed into them that they require little meddling with. They are sweet and crunchy, and once baked with a  little olive oil and salt they take on a slightly caramelized flavour. Paired with roasted cauliflower that has started to brown on top giving it that softly charred flavour makes for a simple and tasty salad. The addition of softened onion, garlic and celery adds a subtle extra dimension to the dish and lifts the flavours, while the basil pesto gives it a nice little punch.

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And this salad is perfect to take to work the next day. Just pop it in a container and you’re good to go. It will taste the same, if not better the next day. No need for sad, soggy bread sandwiches thank you!

Farro and Roast Cauliflower Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 bunches baby carrots, washed
  • ½ head cauliflower, chopped into medium sized pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 ½ tbs good quality store-bought basil pesto
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basil leaves to garnish

Method:

Preaheat oven to 220ºC. Place some baking paper onto a baking tray and put the carrots and cauliflower into the tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands and move the vegetables around the tray so that they are evenly coated in the oil.  Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until carrots look crisp and cauliflower looks slightly charred on the edges.

While the vegetables are in the oven, cook 1 cup of farro according to packets instructions. Once cooked drain and place into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat a shallow frypan with 2 tsp coconut oil over a meadium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until the onion and celery soften and start to appear more translucent in colour. Remove from heat and add to the farro.

Remove vegetables from oven, add to farro and onion mixture and add the pesto. Mix together until the pesto evenly coats everything. Transfer to salad dish, garnish with torn basil leaves and serve.

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