I have a confession: I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I know, I know. It’s a holiday celebrating love. What’s not to, well, love? I adore the idea of celebrating those we cherish but truthfully, I sometimes think it’s all just a bit much. Overpriced flowers. Complicated and overpriced dinners. Boxes of chocolates filled with strange flavors where you just pray for the chocolate covered caramels. Well, I can’t do much about the flowers or the prix-fixe dinners, but I am going to share an amazing recipe for Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups that are simple, inexpensive, and way better than those heart shaped box options! Your Valentine will love them. And so will you.
The exploding popularity of traditional and ancient grains in recent years has brought with it an abundance of new options for delicious (and hearty!) salads. I love adding barley or quinoa to just about anything and recently discovered the fantastic nuttiness of farro. Once a mainstay of health food stores, this ancient relative of wheat is now widely available in grocery stores (I love Bob’s Red Mill) and is a fun addition to soups, stews, or salads. I’ve really been loving it lately in salads, and this Farro Salad with Arugula in particular.
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Ryan Hardy and the Charlie Bird Restaurant in New York, this salad is easy to make and full of great flavor. I love it for a hearty lunch but it is even great for a light dinner. The farro is best when made a little ahead and chilled and then mixed with fresh arugula, tomatoes, salty shaved parmesan, radishes and vinaigrette. It is studded with pistachios for a great little crunch. If you keep the arugula and dressing out until you’re ready to serve, the recipe is a perfect prepare ahead lunch option for the whole week!
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 cups water
- ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- ½ cup chopped pistachios (nuts only)
- 2 cups arugula or arugula/spinach mix
- 1 cup parsley or basil leaves, torn
- 1 cup mint leaves
- ¾ cup halved grape tomatoes
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced radish
- Check your brand's package instructions. Most farro requires a cooking ratio of 1 cup grain to 3 cups liquid. Adjust recipe as necessary.
- In a medium sauce pain, combine farro, apple cider, bay leaves, salt, and water.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until tender and the liquid is evaporated, approximately 30 min.
- Discard the bay leaves.
- Set the farro aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a small pinch of salt.
- In a large bowl, toss together the farro with dressing, cheese, and nuts. Just before serving, add the arugula, fresh herbs, tomatoes and radish and fold to combine.
- Add a pinch of salt to taste.
- Serve immediately.