I bring my lunch to work almost every day. I try to keep my lunches light; you know, to avoid the 2PM face-in-the-keyboard syndrome. My favorite lunches to have around for the week are grain salads. They can be made ahead of time, I generally make a big batch on Sunday nights, and they keep well, so I can eat them throughout the week. They’re great for you, with tons of fiber and vitamins, depending on your veggie choices…and all the calories you save can be put towards left-over whoopie pies. But the best part is that they’re freakin’ delicious! Plump, chewy, nutty grains, fresh veggies and of course, cheese, because it makes everything better. Always.
Farro, thinly sliced radishes, zucchini and fennel tossed with a buttermilk herb dressing and topped with a sprinkle of salty, tangy feta. Nothing but goodness in a bowl. Plus, this recipe makes extra dressing, which, I promise, you’ll be happy about. The original recipe called for the veggies to be thinly sliced on a mandoline. Since the USPS is currently holding the mandoline my mum just sent me hostage, I used the slicing blade on my food processor-I suggest you do too, it saves a lot of time. I also switched up the herbs from the original version and added feta, my go-to crumbled cheese of choice. The only other tweak I made was to add a bit of sugar the to the dressing. I, personally, find that most vinaigrettes need a little bit of sweetness to counterbalance the puckeriness (shhh, totally a word).
I was pretty excited about trying farro. I eat a lot (a LOT) of barley and I love it, and I imagined farro would be similar. As it turns out, the ancient grain seems to be endangered in my part of queens, but after 5 different grocery stores and one inter-borough trip, I found the little buggers. And they were just. like. barley. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious, but will I go to the trouble of hunting down the overpriced barley-wannabes anytime soon? I don’t think so. Will I make this salad again soon? Absolutely. With barley.
Farro Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Adapted from 101Cookbooks
You could add anything to this salad . I think it would be great with sliced cucumbers and red onions or hardboiled eggs….maybe some toasted walnuts. If you have it throw it in. You can also use whatever herbs you want, but the dill is really nice…Try not to overcook your grains….like I did. Can you tell? 🙂
2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
1 t salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped dill
1/4 c. chopped basil
1/4 c. chopped scallions
pinch of sugar
8ish small radishes, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium head of fennel, sliced
4 cups cooked farro or barley, cooled
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
- Add the grated garlic and salt to the buttermilk and let stand a couple of minutes.
- Whisk in the vinegar, olive oil, herbs, and a pinch of sugar. set aside
- Mix the sliced veggies with the cooled farro and coat with ~1 c. of the dressing
- Top with the feta cheese