Just a colourful seasonal salad made with farro, arugula and cantaloupe. I’ve also added some walnuts, crispy romain lettuce, mint leaves, red onions, fresh olives and a delicious batch of Italian sun-dried tomatoes currently available in supermarkets. Served with a lemon-based walnut oil vinaigrette, this salad bursts with flavours. It is a complete healthy meal or side dish.
Farro (épautre in French) is an ancient grain that looks like a cross between brown rice and barley. It has a nutty taste and a delicate chewy texture. I’m a big fan of farro, not only because it tastes good, but also because it is an extremely nutritious grain.
High in fiber and protein, farro is also a good source of magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron. It’s an excellent source of B Vitamins, especially Vitamin B3 or niacin — a nutrient that helps break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, such as cyanogenic glucosides, that boost your immune system, regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
We digest farro slowly, which results in a steady stream of energy throughout the day. It’s the perfect food when you’re stressed or on the go or working out. Farro also contains lignan compounds—plant chemicals responsible for its high anti-oxidant content—making it a key food in the fight against cancer and heart disease.
However, farro is not gluten free. If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or wheat allergies, you should not consume any foods that contain farro. As a gluten-free alternative, you can substitute farro with cooked brown rice, quinoa or buckwheat.
Farro, arugula & cantaloupe salad
- 1 cup dry whole grain farro, cooked (makes 3 cups cooked farro)*
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup romain or other green lettuce, sliced or torn
- 10-12 or more sun-dried tomatoes — preferably the kind marinating in olive oil & herbs
- 1 cup (or more) cantaloupe melon flesh, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans, raw or roasted in oven for 6-8 minutes at 200°C/390°F
- Fresh olives of choice (e.g. black kalamata or green)
- A handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped & smaller ones added whole
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ cup walnut oil
- ¼ cup vegetable olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) grainy mustard (e.g. Dijon)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp salt and some craked pepper
* Note: Whole grain farro takes about 40 minutes to cook; pearled farro 15-20 minutes & semi-pearled 20-30 minutes. I always choose whole grain farro.
Cook the farro in boiling salted water and according to package. With a meshed sieve, strain and rinse the grains under cold running tap water. Set aside to cool in the sieve.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by blending the ingredients together in a small blender or Nutribullet. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients by hand, although the vinaigrette will not be as tasty and creamy as the blended version.
Prepare the remaining salad ingredients, drain the sun-dried tomatoes from the oil and toss everything in a big salad bowl. Add the cooked farro and toss again. Prior to serving, add several tablespoons of vinaigrette and toss again. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve the salad with the vinaigrette on the side.