Smokey Farro Salad with Fresh Corn, Rainbow Chard and Feta

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This week, I vowed not to buy any of the expensive, new fandangle ingredients I’ve come to rely upon – coconut oil, quinoa, cashews. Instead, I’ve been raiding the colourful jars in my store cupboard. One of them contained a grain called farro.

Farro is half the price of quinoa. And although not gluten-free (and I believe that that not all glutens are created equal) it packs a bigger nutritional punch. Farro has equal protein content to quinoa and is higher in calcium. It also has a lovely, cuddly, pearl barley-like texture when added to soups or salads.

This was filling, tasty and nutritious. Either at room temperature or from the fridge as a working lunch.

Serves 2 as a generous main or 4 as a side dish

The Salad:

  • 1 cup of farro (quick cook or regular)*
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons of organic, salted butter (you can go coconut oil or olive oil, but I personally feel butter and corn are BFFs 4eva)
  • 200g of rainbow chard, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 gloves crushed garlic
  • 50g -100g of feta cheese

The Dressing:

  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1tsp raw honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

*An option here is to soak the farro in water for 4-24 hours with a capful of apple cider vinegar. This breaks down the grain’s naturally present phytic acid, enhancing nutrient absorption and making it easier to digest. Make sure to drain and rinse after soaking. Don’t worry if you skip this step. I won’t tell anyone.

  1. Cook your farro according to pack instructions (somewhere between 15 - 45 mins). You can add your favourite seasoning or a piece of seaweed for flavour and added nutrition. Drain well and set aside to cool.
  2. To make the dressing, combine ¼ tsp allspice, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp oregano, ½ sea salt, 1 tsp honey, the juice of one lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil in a jar and shake.
  3. Meanwhile, place a small chopping board inside a deep baking tray or bowl (this will prevent corn shrapnel from flying all over your kitchen). Peel the corn husks away. Holding the corn, slide a large, sharp knife down the side of the cob to remove the kernels. Work around each cob in a circle until you’ve collected all of the corn kernels.
  4. Melt 2 tbsp of good quality butter in a large frying pan on medium heat (don’t let it get too hot). Add the corn kernels and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have a little caramelised colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add a splash of olive oil to the same pan, on a low medium heat, warm the oil and add two crushed garlic cloves and the sliced spring onions. Infuse for 1 minute (don’t let them burn or crisp), then add the washed and chopped chard. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted, but still colourful. Season well.
  6. Pour the dressing over the farro and mix to let it absorb.
  7. Combine the dressed farro with the corn and the chard/spring onion mixture. Top with crumbled feta to serve.

* This could also work with kale or spinach – just make sure to remove excess moisture after cooking if you’re using spinach.

*Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi inspiring the dressing for this recipe.