Made it through Christmas! I know I’m not unique in this feeling… but for sure I’m two parts depressed it’s over. And one part thrilled to get back to normalcy and self control. (I’m reading that wondering how that makes sense… like why I’m made up of three parts… but whatever.) Part of my normalcy of course is my familiar and happy foods… things I LOVE to eat but that also make me feel good. The BEST combination and for sure the way I think most of our eating should be! This salad fits RIGHT in those parameters … nestled in all cozy and delicious.
So a couple of months ago my friend had her annual Favorite Things Party which is like one of the only parties I like going to. (There’s always more stress involved in deciding what to wear than fun had. I think it’s an introvert issue? Which I’ve diagnosed myself as in my adult- years. Who knew.)
Anyway… ANOTHER close friend brought Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad from NY Times… and it was the most amazing salad. The kind I couldn’t get out of my head. Like I brought a salad too but I didn’t want anything to do with my own… just this. Is was so fresh and perfect.. full of farro (my favorite grain for salads… super thick and chewy and so easy to cook), TONS of fresh herbs which are KEEEEEY, and a really pure, SIMPLE lemony, olive oil dressing. The kind I’ll admit I really miss since counting macros. There’s nothing quite like all that golden olive oil.
BUT– I knew if I wanted to be able to get my fix of this at home regularly, I’d have to try and lighten it up. EVEN though it’s a beautiful nutrient dense, “healthy” salad by almost all standards, I know by now what a heavy hand of olive oil, parmesan, pistachios, and grains can do to my macro-budget. It just ADDS UP.
So here I have it. All of the flavors I couldn’t get out of my head. But done in proportions that won’t break the bank. Not even close. I won’t always do the same numbers… if I’ve got room for more fat or more carbs, for sure I’ll bulk up the farro or drizzle in more olive oil because those things are DELICIOUS! But here’s a safe starting point I know I can always bury my face in and come out with plenty of room for dessert.
Farro, Arugula Salad with Lemon and Herbs
- 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- Apple Cider farro 100 g cooked (see recipe below*)
- Grated parmesan 7 g
- 1 Tbs shelled pistachios
- Arugula 50-75 g
- 1 tbs fresh chopped parsley
- 2-3 tbs fresh chopped basil
- 2-3 tbs fresh chopped mint
- Handful of halved cherry or grape tomatoes 40 g
- A few thinly sliced radishes 15 g
- Grilled Chicken Breast 100 g Any will do, like my basic weekly grilled chicken.
- Flakey salt for finishing
For the farro:
- 1 cup farro I buy mine at Trader Joes… but you should find it with the grains at most stores
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2.5 cups water or you can sub in some chicken stock for more savory flavor.
- In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2.5 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. If farro seems tender and there’s too much liquid, just drain like pasta. Let it cool, then discard bay leaves.
- In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add 100 grams of the cooked farro, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. You can do this part ahead of time. Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radish and flaky salt to taste. Add more fresh squeezed lemon if you need more dressing. And more olive oil if you’ve got room for more fat!
- The original calls for a lot more olive oil, and a much greater ratio of farro to greens. If you’ve got the room check out Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad.
- Feel free to make your farro just as the package directs, to simplify. But the added flavor from the apple cider, salt and bay leaves is worth it in my opinion!
- The amounts above for all of the ingredients besides the farro are for your salad for one. You’ll have leftovers of farro for repeat salads throughout the week! Or to share if you’re into that. And if you’ve got plenty of carbs, add more to your salad. The original is more of a farro salad with a bunch of herbs and some greens added in… amazing.