There is always so much excitement about spring asparagus or summer tomatoes; but where is the love for fall root veggies? Carrots, parsnips, beets and turnips are turning up at farmers markets (yes there are farmers markets this time of year too) in abundance and are full in flavor just for a few short months of the year. Now I know that a juicy tomato brings visions of a Caprese salad, accompaniment for pasta, pizza, tossed salads and the list goes on, but if you give this recipe a try and keep an open mind (and palate) you will look forward to roasting fall root vegetables every year. The addition of farro (barley) makes this a comfortable classic that will stir up memories each and every fall. This salad is packed full of flavor and goodies to make it way more than just a side dish. Soak the farro for at least 20 minutes before cooking to help open the grain for the readiness of a gentle simmer that will result in a soft grain with the slightest of chew. Try this around the holiday table, warm, room temperature, or even cold and let you guest “fall” into something just a bit different this year.
Roasted Root Vegetable Farro SaladSalad: ½ pound Farro, bulgur wheat or your favorite grain, rice or pasta
¼ cup carrot, peeled and medium dice
¼ cup parsnip, peeled and medium dice
¼ cup red beet, peeled and medium dice
¼ cup turnip, peeled and medium dice
6 cloves fresh garlic, skin on
1 cup spinach, chopped
8-10 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil and sliced in thin strips
reserved sundried tomato oil to drizzle
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
white balsamic vinegar to drizzle Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees 2. Soak Farro for 25 minutes in cold water, while starting on roasted vegetables. 3. Place beets in a double layered piece of aluminum foil. 4. Drizzle with a little of the sun-dried tomato oil, season with salt/pepper. 5. Fold up edges, add garlic cloves on top, add ¼ cup of water, sealed foil tightly and place on an iron skillet. 6. Place carrot, parsnip, turnip in a mixing bowl, drizzle with sun-dried tomato oil and season with salt/pepper. 7. Add vegetables to skillet, place in oven and roast, stirring occasionally until tender, about 30 minutes. 8. Leave foil pack of beets and garlic sealed during roasting. 9. While roasting vegetables drain farro and place in a stock pot. 10. Cover with about 5 cups of water, bring to a boil, leave uncovered. 11. Lower heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, Farro should be soft but still have a slight chew. 12. Remove vegetables from oven, open foil pack remove garlic and set aside. 13. Place roasted vegetables in a mixing bowl, drizzle with a little vinegar. 14. Squeeze garlic out of skin, place in bowl with vegetables, stir and cover to keep warm. 15. Drain farro, place in a mixing bowl with roasted vegetables, add spinach, sun-dried tomatoes stir to combine. 16. Drizzle with a little more sun-dried tomato oil, vinegar to taste. 17. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine and serve.