This dish is delicious and hearty for the Flexible Vegetarian, and for Modern Vegans too if you avoid the Pecorino cheese.
Farro is an ancient grain that was so revered in ancient Rome it was used as currency. Maybe they knew that it was rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E?
This unhybridized grain is still loved and adored in Italy today, especially in the mountainous regions of Umbria and Tuscany, and lately it appears to be showing up more often in farm-to-table style cooking. What I love is that farro is low in gluten, making it chewy to the bite and well tolerated by people with gluten intolerance. (if you have a serious intolerance, or celiac, you should probably avoid this)
I had lentils in my pantry, so I combined the two for this hearty, though light salad that my husband is asking for again this weekend. I used french lentils, a dark green-brown color, because I knew their firm consistency would hold up to the grain and lots of garden vegetables.
For best results, buy farro that comes directly from Italy.
1 and 1/2 cup farro
1 and 1/2 cup french lentils
Sea salt to taste
1 bay leaf
2 medium tomatoes or a pint of small cherry tomatoes
2 medium cucumbers, peeled
1 large red pepper (I used green for the photo)
1 red onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
Sea salt (I used Celtic for this dish)
black or cayenne pepper
1/2 cup black Greek olives, chopped fine
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1) Put farro and 4 cups of salted water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender but still chewy – about 40 minutes.
2) Rinse lentils in a fine strainer. Put lentils in a separate pot with the bay leaf and add water per directions, or cover lentils by about an inch. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered until tender, approximately 30 minutes.
3) Chop cucumbers, onion, peppers and tomatoes into bite size pieces and place in a separate large bowl. Add olive oil, oregano, cider vinegar and seasoning to taste. Adjust for flavor and toss.
3) When farro and lentils are cooked, pour farro into a strainer to drain the water. Do the same for the lentils, and remove the bay leaf. Combine farro and lentils into one pot, tossing with a little olive oil to mix. Allow to sit and cool. Place into your serving bowl.
4) Add vegetables to top the grain pilaf, and add olives and Pecorino cheese if desired. Toss lightly to coat the grains. Adjust seasonings and dressing again if needed.