Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Farro and Asparagus Salad

Farro is an ancient grain that is considered the first cultivated grain in human history. Popular in ancient civilizations, it has been carbon dated back to 7700 BC in what is modern day Syria. It is a low yield crop that has largely been replaced, but is still grown in mountainous areas of Europe, most commonly in Italy, where it continues to be a popular addition to soups and stews. It is a distant cousin of modern wheat and has a similar consistency to spelt.

You can find farro at natural food stores, italian grocers and most supermarket chains in the health food isle. You can soak it overnight for a quick preparation, or cook it 40-50 minutes. When cooked it has a nutty, chewy texture. It makes a great substitute for barley or quinoa in any recipe.

Farro is an excellent whole grain that offers twice the fiber and protein of modern wheat. Different from other whole grains, farro contains a carbohydrates called cyanogenic glucosides, which have been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol, and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. While farro does contain small amount of gluten, it's gluten molecules are weaker than wheat, making it easily digestible.

This recipe is a quick and easy salad that can be served warm or cold. Light, vitamin packed and filling, it especially delicious for lunch.

Full recipe after the jump!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

1 cup farro, dry
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 lb asparagus, washed and trimmed and cut into 1" chunks
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Cook farro according to package directions

2. Saute onions in olive oil until soft, 3 minutes

3. Add asparagus and saute on med-low an additional 5 minutes, until cooked through

4. Add lemon juice and farro, toss thoroughly

5. Top with black pepper

  • 6. Serve warm or cold

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