Farro and Ceci Salad
Farro (fah-row) is an ancient wheat grain that is in the spelt family. Well, the family is complicated. According to Wikipedia, "Einkorn (Triticum monococcum), emmer (Triticum dicoccum), and spelt (Triticum spelta) are called farro in Italy, sometimes (but not always) distinguished as farro medio, farro grande, and farro piccolo, respectively."
Ceci, (chee-chee), is equally confusing. Although they're called Ceci beans in Italy, they are commonly know as garbanzo beans, and on the East Coast where I grew up, they're called chickpeas. Whatever you call them, we can all agree that they are an amazing food. Besides the buttery, nutty flavor, and satisfying bite, they are packed with nutritional benefits. Read about that here on The World's Healthiest Foods. According to this website, "Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, canning does less damage to many of the key nutrients found in garbanzo beans." So, woohoo! No soaking overnight and cooking. Canned it is!
Now, this blog is certainly not focused on foods for health. I believe that food is one of the greatest sensory pleasures in life. Second only to, well…you know. So my cooking style is all about the pleasure and beauty of good food. But I also believe that when you cook from scratch and incorporate local fresh foods, good nutrition is a natural result.
Recipe Farro and Ceci Salad
(I suppose I could have called this Spelt and Garbanzo Bean Salad, but it's a mouthful. And certainly not as sexy as Farro and Ceci, which sounds like two Italian lovers.)
- 1 can of ceci beans (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- about 8 ozs dried farro, cooked according to package directions
- 3 green onions (scallions), both whites and greens, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
- 3 Tbs capers, drained
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley. minced
- 4 oz greek style (goat) feta
Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans.
In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice and garlic. Add the garbanzo beans and let soak a bit to absorb the flavor. Meanwhile, cook, drain and cool the farro.
In the large bowl with the marinated beans, add the rest of the ingredients, including the cooled faro.
You can add salt and pepper if you'd like, but honestly, the olives, capers and cheese are all pretty salty, so you won't need any more salt.
Like any marinated salad, this improves as it ages and the flavors meld. So cover it tight and refrigerate before serving.
I plated this over a bed of baby arugula, which added a nice fresh bite to the dish. Enjoy!