This is my new favorite spring dinner dish. If you aren’t familiar with farro, time to try it. Roasted Carrot & Farro Salad with Tarragon is a perfect light vegetarian weeknight meal but elegant enough for your next dinner party.
The stars of this vegetarian dish are not the players you’d expect. For me, it was the sweetness of the roasted shallots, the crunch of the pistachios and the nutty parmesan cheese that made me want to make it again the next night. Which I did 😊.
Never heard of farro? Most people haven’t. I discovered it years ago when I found a recipe that called for “kamut”. Definitely hadn’t heard of that and have yet to find it in a store anywhere. A quick Google search told me I could substitute farro, which is similar to brown rice but healthier and with a heartier texture.
Farro was easy enough to find believe it or not. It’s near rice and other dry drains in your grocery store. I use Roland brand.
One of the best things about farro is that it is easier to cook than rice, and more forgiving. It’s also easy to remember the water/grain ratio. 2:1. That means measure your grains and add double the amount of water. Easy. You also don’t have to wait for the water to boil. Rinse the farro, add water, put it over medium-high heat, lower to simmer when it bubbles, cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until al dente and drain any leftover water.
Better at room temp
Another great thing about cooking with farro is that it usually gets served at room temperature. Especially if you are adding a vinaigrette. That means you don’t have to be a professional chef who can time all your other ingredients perfectly. The farro can sit aside for 15-20 minutes no problem.
Mix It Up
You can add pretty much any ingredients to farro with a vinaigrette and it will work. For this recipe, I roasted baby carrots, shallots and baby summer squash. Tossed the farro with a tarragon vinaigrette, the roasted veggies, a handful of fresh baby arugula and some chopped pistachios. The icing on the cake is to grate some fresh parmesan over the dish and toss with the hot veggies just before serving. DEELISH.
Shall I? Or Shallot?
If you aren’t using shallots in your daily cooking, this is a great recipe to help you fall in love with them like I have.
Shallots are snobby red onions. I used to have a real aversion to red onions, probably due to having them raw on a burger or salad at some point and realizing that they tend to linger on me. Shallots brought the flavor of red onion back to my kitchen. They are milder than normal red onions and make everything taste more refined.
I used 2 whole shallots in this farro salad recipe. Peel them and cut them into large chunks for roasting. Their sweetness was a key flavor in this dish.
Get your tarragon on
I posted recently about tarragon, a very under-used herb. Check out my Fresh Herbs: Tarragon post to read more.
A quick whisk of white wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon zest with chopped tarragon makes the dressing for this farro salad. If you can’t get tarragon or don’t like the flavor, I’d substitute fresh thyme or possibly basil.
Squash squash baby
I’m ridiculously overjoyed that I’m having a good squash year in my garden. I think I produced 1 pathetic summer squash over the past 3 growing seasons. It must be the mild spring and plentiful rain that did the trick this year. I prefer my summer squash petite, and it makes the plant produce more when you cut them off as babies.
The original dish that this idea came from used baby carrots, green beans and asparagus. I’m a fan of just using up what you have in the fridge (or in the garden!) which is how the squash got in.
Every now and then I still come across people who don’t like arugula. Arugula is definitely optional here but it did make for a nice layer of freshness. You could put a little chopped kale if you prefer. The greens make the dish look even more appealing.
For those who already know and love farro, try my Lemony-Dill Salmon Farro Salad or my Prosciutto and Golden Beet Farro with Honey-Dill Ricotta. You can also see the Warm Shrimp and Kamut Salad recipe that led me to discover farro on my Something Borrowed page. I still make it with farro.
- 1 cup farro
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting
- handful chopped tarragon
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 large shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 bunch baby carrots
- 3 baby summer squash, halved lengthwise
- 1 handful arugula
- 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh grated parmesan
- Place farro and water in medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, and simmer for 15 minutes or until al dente. Drain any excess water, transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the quartered shallots in a baking dish with the baby carrots and halved summer squash. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Shimmy the dish to ensure the veggies are coating in oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes until al dente. (If your squash looks done before carrots are tender, remove those and set aside)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir in tarragon, set aside.
- Once farro has cooled, add vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add carrots, shallots, squash, arugula and pistachios. Toss again. Grate parmesan over the top, season to taste, toss one more time and serve.