Farro is a nutty, hearty ancient grain well-loved in Italian cuisine. It’s perfect in pilafs and substantial salads like this farro asparagus salad, embellished with other spring-y veggies. it takes a good 30 minutes to cook, much like brown rice, but you can look for quick-cooking farro, which cuts the cooking time in half. Serve as a side-by-side entrée with a warm or cold bean dish. Leftovers are excellent for the next day’s lunch for home or work. Photos by Evan Atlas.
Spring Farro Asparagus Salad
- 1 ½ to 2 cups cooked farro regular or quick-cooking
- 12 to 14 asparagus stalks
- 1 cup fresh or frozen thawed green peas or edamame
- 2 scallions white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 radishes trimmed and sliced
- ½ bell pepper any color, diced
- Juice of ½ to 1 lemon to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- If you haven’t cooked farro ahead and want to end up with up to 2 cups, start with ¾ cup uncooked farro and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently with the cover ajar for 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If using quick-cooking farro, follow package instructions. If you wind up with more than 2 cups cooked farro, save the excess for another use.
- Transfer the cooked grain to a serving bowl.
- Trim about an inch off the bottoms of the asparagus if they look woody; scrape bottom of stalks with a vegetable peeler if need be. You can skip this if the asparagus is slender and fresh. Cut into 1-inch lengths.
- Steam the asparagus, peas (or edamame) in the same saucepan with a little water, just until bright green and tender-crisp. Drain, rinse with cool running water, then drain again.
- Add the asparagus, peas, and remaining ingredients to the cooked grain in the bowl. Stir together completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Here are a few more tips on ancient grains.