In this recipe, farro, an ancient grain, and a toasted coriander vinaigrette transform a plain old salad into one that is filling, festive and drool-worthy.
Farro is a grain that has been used in Italian kitchens for generations. It has also been used in North Africa and the Middle East for centuries. In fact, farro kernels have been found in Egyptian tombs!
Farro has a nutty flavor and a pleasantly chewy texture. It has tons of fiber, magnesium and vitamin B and has a low gluten content. I love using this wholesome, rustic grain in salads to make them more filling.
Cooking farro is as easy as boiling water. Simply bring plenty of water to a boil. Drop the farro in. Cook until the farro is done, but still a little al dente, then drain. Check the package for cooking time. I buy pearled farro from the bulk section of the grocery store and it takes about 30 minutes to cook because it has already been processed. If you buy whole grain farro, it will take longer to cook. I recommend pearled farro for this recipe because it’s quick.
Spinach Farro Salad with Orange and Toasted Coriander Vinaigrette
Serves about 4
For the salad:
1/2 cup pearled farro
10 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
6 radishes, thinly sliced into rounds
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4 cup olive oil (4 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons orange juice
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Freshly cracked black pepper
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the farro. Boil the farro until it is done, but still a little al dente, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. You can cook, drain and refrigerate the farro up to 4 days in advance.
- While the farro is cooking, work on the salad dressing. Heat a small skillet. Add the coriander seeds. Toast them on low heat, shaking the pan often, until the coriander seeds are toasted, lightly brown and fragrant.
- Coarsely grind the toasted coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
- In a small bowl, place the toasted, ground coriander seeds along with all other vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk until everything is well combined.
- Toss half the vinaigrette with the cooked farro. Let the farro cool completely.
- When the farro is cool, toss it with the spinach, radish and remaining salad dressing. Serve immediately.
Photo credits: Sala Kannan