Farro combines with raw asparagus for hearty summer salad

  • Fresh herbs and vegetables mixed with whole grain farro make a satisfying vegetarian dish. Once a mainstay of the ancient Roman diet, farro is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein.

    Fresh herbs and vegetables mixed with whole grain farro make a satisfying vegetarian dish. Once a mainstay of the ancient Roman diet, farro is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. Katie Workman/Associated Press

 
Posted6/14/2016 2:00 PM

Farro is a hearty whole grain that may well become a staple in your kitchen, in everything from soups and casseroles to sides and salads.

Once a mainstay of the ancient Roman diet, farro is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein, which also makes it a great anchor for numerous vegetarian dishes. Try using it in recipes that you might ordinarily reach for barley or brown rice.

 

Fresh herbs and other leafy greens in whole grain salads balance out the heft of the grains and also provide a lovely pop of color and freshness. And I make these kinds of salads continuously during the warmer months, since they keep well, and having a whole grain salad in the fridge means you never have to wonder what to make for lunch on those days when you're feeling unimaginative. Don't be shy with the salt and pepper -- the seasonings really lift the flavor.

Finally, raw asparagus may seem surprising, but if the asparagus is very fresh it add a wonderful delicate asparagus flavor and a nice crunch. If the outer peel is thick, peel the bottom half of the stalks before thinly slicing them, or the texture will be too tough.

• Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/

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