Friday, April 9, 2010

Lemon Scented Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Feta

Lemon Scented Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds, and Feta

Lately I've been baking a LOT. I think this because life has been stressful and baking calms me down. Plus, I have been able to test possible recipes to make for the Food Blogger Bake Sale and I've been able bring lots of delicious treats to my coworkers. Contrary to popular belief, I do not bake every night. Next to fall, spring produce is my favorite and one of the tops is asparagus. I found this recipe last week and immediately sent it to Diana saying, I want to make this NOW! Well, a few days later, I did make it and it was great!! Lemon and asparagus go so well together as I pleasantly discovered last year.

I loved the combo of chewy farro and Israeli couscous (with a dash of Harvest grain mix thrown in), but I think next time I will up the ratio of farro to couscous. I made a few other changes. I used a regular lemon because I am out of the amazing Meyer lemons that Mary gave me, but now I have a ton of regular lemons courtesy of Raul. The original instructions said to cook the grains separately, but when you start cooking at 9pm, it's necessary to find ways to speed things up so I cooked them together with no problem. I added a few frozen peas for some extra green-ness and sweetness. This salad has tart, crunch, chew, and creaminess. It's pretty addictive and if you desire more protein, this is a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. With way less oil than called for in the original recipe, this was a great light lunch that was perfect to keep me powered through the day. Expect to see many more grain salads like this in the very near future.

Lemon Scented Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Feta
(Adapted from The Kitchn)

Makes 2-3 servings

4 ounces uncooked farro
4 ounces uncooked pearl (Israeli) couscous
2 cups water
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
Olive oil
1/2 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, add the water and grains and a large pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the grains are tender and most of the water is absorbed. If there is extra water, drain in a colander.

Heat a little olive oil over medium heat, and cook the asparagus until just barely crisp-tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas to the grains and toss. Then toss in the toasted almonds, feta cheese and lemon zest.

Mix the lemon juice with a bit of olive oil (1-2 teaspoons), taste, and adjust. Pour over grain salad and toss, along with salt and pepper to taste.

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Deana Sidney said...

I have been making too many rich things.. although delicious it's time to start eating lighter and better... this is a great place to start!

Maria said...

I made a similar salad this week with orzo. Love it!

MaryMoh said...

New to me but looks very healthy and delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Alicia Foodycat said...

What a great work lunch! Yum!

Anonymous said...

This looks great. I adore farro and bet it is delicious with spring vegetables.

shaz said...

This does look healthy and filling Esi. Never used farro before (nor Israeli cous cous for that matter) but keen to check it out. And aren't you lucky getting all those yummy lemons!

From the Kitchen said...

This sounds delicious. I love being able to have fresh asparagus in the spring and like new recipes. I'll be doing this for sure. I'd like to be your co-worker!!!


Jennifer said...

LOVING this spring-y salad!!

Anonymous said...

I believe this will be on the menu at our house next week. Looks delish!

Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking said...

That looks both healthy, filling and very delicate. A perfect combo!

Unknown said...

ooh, i'm wishing i hadn't just roasted the asparagus in my fridge... love farro, too, and need to use more of the grains i have in my cupboards! sounds delicious :)

Diana said...

How did I miss this post?!? I tried a version of this too - with quinoa, asparagus, fava beans, pinenuts, and goat cheese. It turned out pretty tasty, but I want to try it with the actual grains before blogging it. I want to shock people by cooking with something other than quinoa. ;)

Marie said...

Yum! This kind of thing is just what I've been looking to eat more of these days.

Anonymous said...

Making this tonight! I will tell you how we like it.