For this month’s Recipe Redux challenge, I was asked to get inspired by one of my fellow Recipe Redux bloggers. There are so many fabulous, creative bloggers in this talented group, that I had a really tough time. But I finally selected my friend and colleague, Alexis Caspero’s amazing blog DelishKnowledge as my source of inspiration. Like me, she focuses on plant-based foods in her blog, and I just love her culinary style of globally inspired, approachable, modern and totally addictive foods. When I think of Alex, I think of all things fresh, flavorful, and Mediterranean.
So, I chose to create this Tuscan Asparagus Farro Salad in tribute to Alex’s culinary style. I love the crunchy, nutty taste of farro in grain salads. This ancient wheat, which has its roots in Tuscany, is rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and even phytochemicals. Spinning off its traditional origins, I created a cool, hearty salad with all of the flavors of the Tuscan countryside: fennel, basil, garlic, onions, pine nuts, peppers. Plus a springy addition of asparagus livens this salad right up! Check out this gorgeous purple basil garnish, which I harvested from my garden!
Yields 8 servings
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, chopped into 2-inch pieces
- ¼ red onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (red, green, yellow), diced
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh fennel fronds, chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Sea salt to taste (optional)
- Place farro and broth in a medium pan and cover with lid. Bring to a boil and cook (according to package directions) for about 30 minutes, until tender yet a bit crunchy (not soggy). Drain off any excess liquid. Cool slightly.
- Place asparagus in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook only for 3-4 minutes until crisp tender yet bright green. Remove from heat, drain off water, and cool slightly.
- Place cooked, cooled farro and asparagus, onion, pepper, basil, fennel, and pie nuts in a bowl and combine.
- Whisk together olive oil, zest and juice from one lemon, black pepper, and garlic.
- Toss dressing into salad and combine well. Adjust seasonings as needed. (Don’t add salt unless necessary).
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or chill until serving time.