30 July 2008

Lentil & Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

So, as you can see by the title, this dish doesn't really scream SUMMERTIME! Not only do you actually have to turn the oven ON but you also have to preheat said oven to a seriously roasting temp of 400 degrees. However, my dear (vegetarian) friend just had a beautiful, sweet baby and specifically requested this dish when I offered to bring dinner...and who am I to tell a post-partum babymama 'No'?

I first made this salad for a cooking club a couple of years ago because I was dying for a reason to try farro, a grain I'd only recently discovered at the time. As it turned out, the farro, as tasty as it was, ended up as that afterthought (aftertaste?) to the deliciousness of the earthy vegetables, creamy lentils and zippy vinaigrette.
Unfortunately I didn't write down the recipe after I created the dish 2 years ago so this time I had to rely on taste memory.
Thankfully, it turned out well, even with a last minute, random raddichio addition. And my dear (vegetarian) friend swooned over it, which is the ultimate reward.

Lentil and Farro Salad w/ Roasted Veggies

1 cup french lentils
1 cup farro* (or barley, or hard red winter wheat)
5 carrots, peeled and quartered
15-20 cremini mushrooms, halved, stems removed,
2-3 T olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium leeks, halved and thinly sliced
3 T parsley, minced
1/2 medium head raddichio, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice from half of a lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 1 T olive oil
1 T minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Toss peeled, quartered carrots and halved cremini mushrooms (15 or so?) with olive oil, S&P
2) Roast at 400 degrees until soft and slightly browned (the mushies will take less time than the carrots).
3) Let veggies cool and dice into small cubes.
4) While the veggies are roasting, cook 1 cup french lentils for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Strain and rinse under cool water to stop cooking.
5) Cook 1 cup farro as you would rice but do not over cook. It should still have a little bite to it. Rinse under cool water.
6) Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, 1 T thyme and olive oil. Season with S&P.
10) Combine the roasted veggies, grains, lentils, parsley, leeks and radicchio. Toss mixture with enough of the dressing to coat everything. Let sit at room temp for about 20 min. Stir again to see if you need to add more dressing. Add more if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate, stirring frequently and adding more dressing as needed.
Stir before serving. (I also think this salad is best when it's brought to room temperature before serving, but this is optional.)

*I just made this recipe again for a different new-mama-friend of mine and used a combination of barley and hard red winter wheat. It was so deliciously nutty that I almost liked it better than with just the farro!

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