Mediterranean Farro Bowl with Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

Oh my dears.   I’m not even kidding about how good this is.  I realize that it might be hard to tell exactly what it is from the photo, so let me briefly explain.  In a bowl, first we layer some farro which is ever so good for you and way beyond delicious.  Each grain sort of pops in your mouth like barley, but it’s much more flavorful.  So then on top of the farro we have a smattering of garbanzo beans, cucumber, a little chopped red onion, some feta cheese, chopped tomato (I’ll get to that later), and then a wondrous drizzle of  a yogurt/lemon/tahini dressing and some chopped parsley.  And all of that comes together to create some of the most incredible flavors and textures ever, with the added bonus that it’s a cinch to make and very, very good for you.

Oh, and about the tomatoes.. in my zeal to get this put together for the photo, I just totally forgot to sprinkle on the tomatoes, which sucks because it could have used the color, but you will have to use your imagination there.  I decided it’s not a good idea to photograph your lunch right around noon.  One has a tendency to rush things a bit.

But I digress… If you haven’t cooked with farro before, nothing could be easier.  Boil some water, add the farro, cook for about 20 minutes, drain.  If you can’t find farro, which I can imagine might be a problem for some, you could easily substitute barley and/or brown rice.  Farro comes pearled (perlatto), partially pearled, and just well, farro.  Traditional farro takes about an hour to cook, but has the extra advantage of still possessing its husk and germ, so that’s a bonus in the nutrient department.  I could only find the perlatto, but I’m going to hunt down the whole grain variety before I make this again.

 

So here’s the thing.  We’re not far away from summer’s heat, and I’m pretty much thinking that a nice cool bowl of Mediterranean flavors isn’t a half bad way to stay cool and still eat well.  But to be honest, I’ll be eating this in the frigid dead of winter too.  All year long, actually.  Here’s the recipe…

Mediterranean Farro Bowl with Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle

Farro is a wonderfully healthy grain that can be as versatile as your imagination.  For this recipe you can use traditional farro, semi-pearled farro or pearled farro.  The difference between them is how much of the bran and germ layers have been removed.  If you are using regular farro, it will take about an hour to cook.  The semi-pearled and pearled varieties will cook in 20 to 30 minutes. 

Dressing:

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
2 tablespoons finely minced mint
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ cups farro
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 cups cooked garbanzos (rinsed if canned)
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
1/4 cup finely minced red onion

Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water (about 4-5 cups) to a boil.  Add the farro to the water, return to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the farro until tender, about 20-30 minutes and then drain.  If using traditional (not pearled) farro, let it cook for an hour before draining.

For the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, parsley, mint, tahini and yogurt; drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble: Divide the farro between 4 bowls. Top with the garbanzos, cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese and red onion. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

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