We all get bored with grilled chicken and lean beef—even quinoa is running its course. So we're more than willing to try a new muscle-building food when the opportunity comes our way. While farro certainly isn't new—the ancient grain's been around since Roman times—it's not something we're accustomed to cooking with on a regular basis. But that needs to change.
In addition to delivering 8 grams of protein per cup, farro is a super versatile grain. Eat it hot or cold, as a main meal or side dish. A good place to start is farro salad. The combination of fresh vegetables infused with basil, mint, and olive oil complements any healthy meal. Plus, it's surprisingly easy to prepare (just mix, steam, and season), and sneaks in a powerful punch of nutrients.
• 3 cups water
• 1 tbsp salt
• 1 cup farro
• 1 cup oil-cured olives
• ½ cup diced red onion
• ½ cup diced carrots
• ½ cup diced celery
• ½ cup diced trimmed fennel
• ½ cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
• 1 cup sliced plum tomatoes
• 2 tbsp capers
• 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 2 tbsp chopped basil
• 2 tbsp chopped mint
• ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. In a 2-quart pot over medium heat, bring the water and 2 teaspoons of the salt to a boil. Pour in the farro and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Strain the farro and immediately return it to the warm pot. Pan-steam it by covering the pot and letting the steam finish cooking the farro, about 10 minutes.
3. Mix the cooked farro with the olives, onion, carrots, celery, fennel, cucumber, tomatoes, capers, and garlic. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and herbs. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper.
Recipe excerpted from Mediterranean Cooking, © 2013 by The Culinary Institute of America. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.