I looove cherries! And I know that the cherry season in Florida is coming to an end, but I'm always looking for ways to add these sweet babies into recipes. In addition to their natural sweetness, cherries contain antioxidants and some varieties have more melatonin, which can help with regulating your sleep cycles...an extra bonus! I personally eat them because they taste great, and they often serve as an evening snack when I'm trying to dodge some not-so-good-for-you dessert options. Farro has become another favorite in our home, too! This ancient grain is a great alternative to rice or pasta, contains more fiber than my beloved quinoa, and also has protein, magnesium and iron. It makes a great base for a cold salad like this one, or a good option for recipes that would call for rice, or even a morning hot cereal. It has a firm, slightly chewy texture.
I originally got this recipe from Cooking Light, but have made some adjustments over time. This can serve as a stand alone light lunch option, or I'll often make it as a side dish to salmon. If you want to omit the nuts, no problem! Although they do add a nice crunch to the recipe.
Cherry & Farro Salad Ingredients5 cups water1/4 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups uncooked farro2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and chopped1-3 - 2/3 cup finely diced celery (based on your taste!)1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped finelyDressing:2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard1 tablespoon honey or agave1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon salt3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Directions:
Boil water in a large saucepan. Add farro and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain the farro and allow to cool completely (roughly 15 minutes). While the farro cools, heat a small saute pan to medium heat, and toast the chopped walnuts (or heat in a 375 oven until brown).
Combine farro, chopped cherries, celery, walnuts, and parsley in a large bowl. Set aside.
Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste for extra seasoning. Add in the oil, slowly, until combined.
Pour over the farro salad...done!
- Substitute lime for lemon, and cilantro for parsley for a more Mexican type variation
- Substitute quinoa for the farro if you don't have any on hand. I would suggest adding lemon to the quinoa cooking water to brighten it's flavor while cooking
Let me know what you think!