When following a Mediterranean diet, it’s important to explore whole grains for overall health. There are many kinds of whole grains on the market, and this farro salad makes good use of one of my favorites.
Farro is an ancient grain known as the mother of all wheat species. It was popular in ancient Rome, and was used to feed the Roman army. It can be used as a hot cereal in the morning served sweet or savory. It is a great addition to soups, stews, and salads. Its slightly chewy texture is similar to barley, and it has a nutty flavor.
Farro is rich in dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, iron, niacin (B3), and antioxidants. It’s low in calories and fat, so it makes a perfect ingredient for a Mediterranean diet. You can usually find it in the supermarket, but if not, you can definitely find it online.
In this salad I combined farro with cannellini beans, canned tuna, and a mix of chopped salad vegetables. You can use whatever vegetables you like best. I chose bell pepper, tiny tomatoes, fennel, and shallot. To make the dressing I used fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, shallot, and herbs. I also added marinated mushrooms for a little extra flavor. I used fresh basil and lemon balm from my garden, but any fresh herbs will do. Use your favorites. Parsley, tarragon, thyme, or oregano would all work well.
I added the warm farro to the cold ingredients. But this salad is just as good the next day after being refrigerated. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Whole grains like farro will help you feel full and satisfied longer. It will give you an energy boost to accomplish whatever you need to get done. This farro salad makes a lovely meal for a hot summer’s day.
- 2 cups farro
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 head fennel finely chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper (any color) chopped
- 12 cherry or grape tomatoes chopped
- 12 marinated mushrooms chopped
- 1 19 oz. can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 2 4.5 oz. cans tuna in olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 juice of lemon
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 6 leaves fresh basil
- 6 leaves lemon balm optional
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Rinse and drain the farro, and then add to a large sauce pan, cover with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes or until the farro is tender. Farro has a natural bit of crunch, so it won't be completely soft.
- To prepare the dressing, put 1 tablespoon of shallot in a jar or small mixing bowl, add minced garlic, chopped herbs, and olive oil. Stir, and let sit to for a few minutes for the olive oil to infuse with the flavors. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the fennel, bell pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, and remaining shallot.
- When the farro is done, drain and let rest for a minute.
- Add the cannellini beans and tuna with its olive oil. Break the tuna up with a fork or spoon. Add the warm farro.
- Pour the dressing over the top, and mix well to combine all ingredients.