Summer Farro Salad
Dearest Summer Swooners,
If you’re anything like me, summer is a test of how many different ways you can write the word “salad” on endless potluck sign up sheets. Everyone knows that salads are some of the simplest, fool-proof potluck contributions–but none of us want to be “that person” who always shows up with the same green salad and overused set of tongs (nothing against green salads, they’re delicious–but you catch my drift..).
So, what do we do? We start to populate those sign up sheets with an assortment of words that seem to sit quite comfortably in front of our good friend, “salad”–fruit salad, seven layer salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, bean salad, egg salad, pasta salad, etc. etc.
I’m here today to perpetuate the trend. Why? Because, aside from PB&J, salads are the best thing to happen to this world (in my humble opinion, at least). I’m not just bringing you any ole’ salad, though, I’m bringing you a grain salad, scattered with a few of my absolute favorite bright, colorful, summery ingredients.
Bring this dish as your potluck plus one and reclaim your title as “Queen (or King) of the Unique, Nutrient Dense Side Dishes” (an honor, truly). If anyone asks you to explain how this dish brings honor to your title, feel free to serve them up a side of this Nutritional Highlight, as well:
The name “farro” refers to three different types of ancient wheat: einkorn, emmer, and spelt. However, emmer is known as the “true farro” and will be the variety most often found in stores, coming soon to dinner tables near you. It is an ancient grain dating back about 20,000 years ago when it was first domesticated near the Fertile Crescent.
The popularity of this grain seemingly fizzled out throughout the mid 1900’s as modern bread wheat rose in popularity. However, our very old, grainy friend appears to be making a comeback with the surge of hipster “grain bowls” and “grain salads”…*Exhibit A.*
I personally welcome this grandpa grain with open arms, as a 1/4 cup dry serving contains 170 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of dietary fiber–hello, regularity! Farro and other ancient grains (amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, Kamut, teff + more!) are higher in protein and soluble fiber than standard wheat used to make bread and other baked goods1.
Since farro is a type of wheat, however, it is not considered a gluten free grain and is thus not suitable for those with Celiac disease. Nonetheless, it is characterized by its nutty flavor and chewy texture, and is a good source of magnesium needed for bone and immune health, regular nerve + muscle function, and regulation of the heartbeat. Farro is also a great source of zinc, which is important for immune health, wound healing, and carbohydrate digestion. Lastly, farro contains vitamin B3 (niacin), which (along with other B vitamins) helps the body to convert food into energy2.
All that, plus the fact that it’s delicious? That’s enough to make me say bone apple teeth!!
P.S. As if incorporating whole grains into your diet wasn’t enough, you can also incorporate them into your pickup lines. Try this one on for size: “Boy (or girl), I’ve been racking my grain trying to think of someone as rice as you, but I can’t seem to rise to the occasion. You deserve butter than all the other impastas out there. Thinking we should go out sometime? Bc same–it’s like you bread my mind.”
Sources & Additional Readings:
- Farro: An Ancient Wheat for Modern Meals. Food & Nutrition Magazine. https://foodandnutrition.org/january-february-2017/farro-ancient-wheat-modern-meals/. Published May 24, 2017. Accessed June 13, 2018.
- Brown MJ. 5 Benefits of Farro, A Healthy and Nutritious Ancient Grain. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/farro-benefits. Accessed June 13, 2018.