Elaborate lunches are not my thing. I’m a teacher, so I have about 25 minutes to eat before it’s back to class. It’s a challenge to come up with healthy, make-ahead lunches that are filling and tasty. This salad covers all the bases and you can mix up the ingredients for a variety of options.
Farro is a grain that is high in fiber and protein. It has a nutty flavor similar to brown rice, but it’s a bit puffier. It makes a great base for a grain salad and helps create a more heartier lunch than plain lettuce.
To it, I have added the classic ingredients in my favorite salad, Greek. The crunchy vegetables combine with the salty feta and olives pack a flavor punch, and I’ve found they refrigerate well for weekly food prep.
I start by making the vinaigrette. Whenever adding garlic to a salad dressing, I always paste it in order to avoid biting into chunks of raw garlic. You just mince the garlic, add kosher salt, and chop the salt into the garlic. Then you mash the garlic with the side of your knife and repeat until you have a paste.
I like to let the garlic sit in the acid of the vinegar while I get everything else ready. This will further mellow the flavor of the garlic. When I’m ready, I just whisk in the rest of the ingredients. This is a fantastic dressing for any salad. I usually double the recipe so that I have extra on hand.
By chopping all of the vegetables into nice, bite-size pieces, you get a little bit of everything in each bite. The salad is delicious slightly when immediately prepared, slightly warm, and the next day chilled. Once it’s been chilled, I recommend drizzling some of the extra dressing on the salad. Add chicken or salmon for some extra protein!
Greek Farro Salad
Prepare the dressing
Paste the garlic with the salt; add to a bowl with the vinegar and let sit while preparing the other ingredients. (Pasting the garlic and allowing it to sit in the vinegar will mellow the flavor.)
Add the pepper, mustard, and oregano, and whisk to mix together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
Cook the farro.
Rinse the farro. Bring two cups of water and a pinch of salt to boil; add farro. When it returns to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for about 10 minutes.The directions on the package recommend cooking 20-25 minutes, but I have found it takes about thirty to completely absorb the water. Just keep an eye on yours.
Prepare the vegetables.
While the farro cooks, get the vegetables ready. Slice the tomatoes in half (in quarters if large) and dice the cucumber. Thinly slice the scallions and measure out just the whites and light greens. You can reserve the dark greens for garnish. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and slice the olives.All measurements are after the vegetables have been chopped/sliced
Combine the ingredients.
Once the farro has cooled slightly, add the vegetables, feta cheese, and ¼ cup of the dressing. Mix well. You can serve it immediately or chilled.Reserve the remaining dressing for adding to the chilled salad.