Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad is a wonderfully hearty, healthy and savory dish. Roast your favorite vegetables, combine with farro and chickpeas, and finish with a drizzle of delicious balsamic vinegar
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I never ate quinoa, farro, bulgur, or any of the healthy grains before I began the blog. Yes, I knew they were all good for you, but they never looked or sounded appetizing. I tried quinoa first; cooked it in water, per the instructions, and nearly threw it away. Quinoa cooked in water tastes like cardboard. It was a few months before I tried it again, and the next time cooked it in chicken broth. What a difference broth makes, as it adds such a wonderful depth of flavor.
Once I joined the quinoa club, I dove right in. My first recipe, Kale and Quinoa Patties, remains one of my go-to lunches. Asian Quinoa Meatballs are perfect as lunch, or as a party appetizer. And my Steak Fajita Quinoa Salad has all the delicious flavors of fajitas, in a lighter and healthier bowl. I decided to take on the farro challenge next
WHAT IS FARRO?
Farro is a whole grain, and also one of the ancient grains, meaning it’s been around for centuries. Farro is a great source of iron, high in fiber, and heart-healthy. It is a grain, so it is NOT for a gluten-free diet. But it’s perfect for all kinds of other recipes, and popular in vegan and vegetarian dishes. I recently made Farro with Spring Vegetables, my take on a recipe I saw on Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on The Food Network. It’s simple, delicious, and works really well as a side dish for all kinds of protein.
Since I had so little experience with farro, I went to Pinterest for inspiration and came across a delicious looking farro salad recipe. But of course I couldn’t just do it as-is, so I added my own spin for Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad
Oh my goodness, there’s so much delicious happening with this Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad. I love the contrast in textures and all of the flavors. I usually have Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad on its own as a vegetarian lunch, but it would also be great as a side dish.
WHAT’S IN ROASTED MUSHROOM AND GREEN BEAN FARRO SALAD?
- Roasted vegetables, of course! I use baby portobello mushrooms, green beans, asparagus, onion, and garlic. I keep the garlic cloves whole, because when I tried slicing them first, they burned. And nobody wants burnt garlic. I season the vegetables with salt and pepper, drizzle with Avocado Oil, and roast on a foil-lined Baking Sheet for 20 minutes
- I also add Chickpeas to the mix. They weren’t in the original recipe, and the first few times I used chicken. But the chickpeas work really well with the other flavors in the dish, and keep it vegetarian. I use dry chickpeas, that I soak overnight and then finish in the pressure cooker. Of course, you can use canned chickpeas
- The original recipe calls for feta cheese on top at the end. I’ve used feta, substituted goat cheese, and sometimes use no cheese at all. It’s really personal preference
- I add Dried Cranberries for a little sweetness to counteract all of the savory ingredients. I add the cranberries with the farro for the last 5 minutes of cooking, to rehydrate them
- Toasted Sliced Almonds add a wonderful crunch to the dish. I lightly toast the sliced almonds, and add them to the finished dish
BEST PRACTICE FOR COOKING FARRO
Cooking farro is basically the same as quinoa. The most important part of cooking these grains is to toast them for several minutes before adding the broth, as this allows the nutty flavor to develop and release. Once I learned how to make Homemade Vegetable Broth, I always use it. Just like store-bought broth adds lots of flavor, homemade broth knocks it out of the park.
The crowning glory of Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad? The balsamic vinegar drizzled on top at the end. My friend Dianne introduced me to Lucero Balsamic Vinegar about 2 years ago. The only down side is that you can’t find it in the grocery store, so you have to order it online. But I do it, because the grocery store balsamic doesn’t come close to the rich, thick goodness of Lucero. Yes, there are other very good brands, but once I tried Lucero, I never looked back. It is pricey, but so well worth it. And besides, a little goes a very long way.
Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad is on my regular recipe rotation, and I can’t wait to share the recipe with my family
Adapted from Closet Cooking
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 1/2 cup farro
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 4 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
- 1/3 pound green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 16 asparagus spears, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup yellow onions, sliced 1/2" thick
- 4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 1/2 cup chickpeas, dry or canned
- 1/2 Tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon sliced almonds
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (I use Lucero)
- 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
DRY CHICKPEAS: soak in hot water for at least 4 hours. Add to pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes. Drain excess water
CANNED CHICKPEAS: drain liquid and rinse well
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Add sliced almonds to saute pan and toast over medium heat until they become golden brown. Do not allow them to burn. Remove and set aside
Toss the mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, garlic and onions in the oil, thyme, salt and pepper and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast vegetables for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and add to large bowl
In saucepan over medium heat, add dry farro and toast for 2-3 minutes, until nutty. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes
Add cranberries to farro, and cook for 4-5 minutes. This will naturally rehydrate the cranberries
Add farro and chickpeas to bowl with roasted vegetables.
- Portion into serving bowls, top with almonds and cheese, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar