Up until a few years ago I used to buy a lot of prepared deli salads - then I looked at the added sodium, preservatives, and long list of chemicals I couldn't pronounce which I had no idea what they did nor why they were included. I stopped buying deli salads for the most part at that point.
Now I will make one salad and pop it into the fridge - it is great for when we are eating on the terrace (I know we'll be out there some time this year even if it isn't terrace weather yet) or heading out for an al fresco picnic.
I made this salad for the May Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club- the theme is rice and grains. I wanted to make a dessert but the only thing I could find was rice pudding and that was NOT happening! With the dessert course crossed off I went for a salad instead.
One of the reasons why I selected this one was because it includes farro. Farro, a nutty, slightly sweet, pleasingly chewy grain has got to be one of my favourite things to cook with. It fed the Roman Legions and it known for its nutritional values. Farro is a whole grain that is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates. Additionally, farro has twice the fiber and protein than modern wheat. Different than some other whole grains, a carbohydrate in farro called cyanogenic glucosides has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it more easily digested.
This salad had the farro but it also had plenty of fresh herbs and lemon which convinced me it would be a delicious addition to our menu and it was!
1 1/4 cups uncooked farro, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Combine farro and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender and liquid is absorbed.
Combine cooked farro, mint, and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well. Cover and store in the refrigerator.