While the rest of the world spent the New Year celebrating and catching up on Netflix, my husband and I were hard at work on our "Radical Side Hustle House." An investment property that sadly we will never live in, but that nevertheless, has been undergoing a huge makeover in anticipation of its future buyer. An exciting and scary adventure, but one that thus far, we have felt fairly optimistic about.
Whenever possible, I have spent my spare moments pre-cooking staple meals to get us through our busy days. Chicken pot pie (minus the pie crust), spaghetti with turkey meatballs, shrimp two ways: tossed with broccoli, pesto and brown rice pasta and stir fried with mixed veggies. Out of all that cooking, I decided to highlight this uncommon dish on the blog.
Initially, I went to the store thinking I was possibly going to make this recipe with ground lamb. There was a time when I truly would have enjoyed that. But I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. When I first began my food blog, nearly two years ago, I thought it would encompass a full range of both meat and meat-less recipes. But, gradually I found myself shifting away from animal products, though not completely, and my posts have reflected that.
Farro is very satisfying on its own. Depending on what variety you purchase, it can take awhile to prepare. Whole grain farro needs to be soaked overnight and requires a longer cook time. However, if the fibrous bran has been removed, it cooks like rice in about 10-15 minutes. Just check your package for instructions so that you know how much time to allot. The ancient farro grain is considered a staple in many cultures, dating back thousands of years. It generally contains less gluten, and is less processed, than the modern variety of wheat used in so many products found on store shelves today. High in protein and iron, farro also contains zinc, B-vitamins and fiber. Lots of great reasons to include it in your meal rotation!
What I love most about this salad is that each bite has a slightly different mix of sweet, salty, tangy and savory flavors. Serve it warm or cold, as a main entree for two people or a side dish for four.
Time to discard all the unhealthy holiday treats and start fresh! Join me on the path to a healthy year!
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium golden beets, peeled and de-stemmed
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
5-6 dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup cooked farro
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons chives, minced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese
Toss the beets with a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and place one side of a sheet pan. Repeat with the onion and zucchini on the other side of the pan. Bake at 400ºF for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender. If the zucchini and onions are done before the beets, transfer into a large bowl to cool. Then return the beets to the oven for the remaining time. Toss the cooked beets, onions and zucchini with the figs, farro, raisins, herbs and lemon juice. Sprinkle with feta cheese when ready to serve.
Yield: 2 large main servings or 4 smaller side servings