Ok, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods. I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores. It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven. BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi! So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work. The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.
This is to me a perfect winter salad because it’s savory, sweet and nutty all at once. Roasted sweet potatoes paired with the chewy nutty texture of farro and topped with fresh dill and arugula greens, it’s almost too pretty to eat. Some of you may be curious as to what farro is. Farro is basically a firmer and nuttier version of barley and is high in fiber and rich in magnesium and B vitamins. You can find it at most grocery stores next to the rice and quinoa. If you can’t find farro, then you could also substitute wheat berries, barley, buckwheat or even quinoa in this dish.
I have to say that I’m a bit in love with sweet potatoes, because not only are they chock-full of nutrition, but they also taste so good! I’ve been on a no-sugar kick since Thanksgiving (I know, hard to believe) so these sweet potatoes are tasting extra sweet to me right now. This salad makes the perfect meatless meal entrée for lunch or dinner or as a side dish to your favorite chicken or meat dish. This salad tastes great warm or chilled, but personally I prefer to eat it warm. Leftovers are amazing as well. I’ve been eating leftovers of this salad for the past 5 days and it tastes great!
roasted sweet potato and farro salad:
recipe from Martha Stewart Living
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large or 4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces, keep the skins on the sweet potaotes to save time, fiber and nutrients - I used a mixture of regular sweet potatoes and the Japanese variety, which are white on the inside. Both taste the same though.
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- coarse sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup semipearled farro (about 7 ounces)
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup radish or arugula sprouts or baby watercress, plus more for garnish - I used arugula sprouts
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.You will roast the squash and cook the farro at the same time, so let’s begin by prepping the squash and garlic. Using a brush, scrub the sweet potatoes and then cut them into 1-inch pieces. Arrange the sweet potatoes and the 3 unpeeled garlic cloves onto a rimmed baking sheet (if you have a lot of sweet potatoes, then you can use 2 baking sheets) and drizzle roughly 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the sweet potatoes. Add some coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss to combine. Spread the potatoes into a single layer.
Pop them in the oven and roast the potatoes, flipping once about halfway, until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.Meanwhile, put the 1 cup farro into a medium sauce pan and cover the farro with 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low or simmer, and cook uncovered until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. I would test the farro at 25 minutes to see where it’s at. You want it to be chewy and a bit tender, but not mushy. Drain the farro and put it into a large bowl. Add in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and toss to combine.
When cool enough to handle, remove the soft inner part of the garlic from the peels and put it into a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the garlic, and mash them together.
Add the sweet potatoes, garlic and lemon mixture, dill and arugula sprouts to the farro. Stir gently to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and garnish with sprouts.Serve this salad up as a main meatless entrée or as a side to your favorite chicken or meat dish.