It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me. I have been a busy bee trying to tie up all my loose ends with my freelancing photography and social media consulting, organizing everything at my day job to get things ready for when I leave in a week a half to Europe. Yes I said it, a week and a half. I am just about to burst with excitement. I cannot believe how fast February has flown by, well actually no; the beginning of February was a bit of a drag but this past week and a bit has gone a little too quick. I mean it is exciting because it just means our trip is getting closer and closer but I feel like I just don’t have enough hours and minutes in the day right now to get everything I need to get done, done. I have had photo shoots and editing and social media captions to write. Blog posts and recipes to make for you guys, which actually I have only been able to get maybe one more done for while I am away so it will be a little quiet around here for the month of March. But know when I get back you will get lots of Europe pictures to make up for the lost time and while I am away I am sure I will be given loads of new recipe inspiration insights.
I am calling it the grain of 2016, I am sure someone already got to it before me but if not then know I coined that. Farro is by far my favourite grain and has been for a little while now. It is so versatile as it can be used in sweet ( like my sweet farro stuffed baked apple blossoms) and savoury dishes, soaks up flavours with intensity and can even get a little crunchy if baked long enough (really delicious fyi). It is hearty than rice in my opinion, has a slightly nutty flavour, soft yet chewy in texture and nutritionally speaking it is pretty on par with Quinoa (surpassing it in calcium), although it is not gluten free.
This recipe might be my favourite one to date; I have probably said that before in previous recipes but right now, today, this is it. Paul swooned over it, said it had the flavour of eating something decedent and kinda bad but it is incredibly healthy. It’s all about the dressing in this dish, miso sesame cashew cream that is unbelievable creamy so gives it that bad satisfying essence.
I need to start using miso more often. It is something I haven’t used a lot but when I do I am always like why have I not been using this more. So it will happen, I am thinking marinades, sauces, creams, soups, a lot is in the works.
You can really add anything you like to this salad, some charred broccoli, or roasted cauliflower; even roasted sweet potatoes would be really good as well. If you don’t have farro, rice would work just as good, but I do highly recommended trying farro if you haven’t already. You will probably find a new grain love like I did. Another great thing this salad is completely vegan, except for the little bit of honey in the cashew cream which is optional. You may or may not know but I was a vegetarian for about 5 years (you can read my how I started eating meat again story here) and vegan for a little bit of it. I just started eating meat again two years ago. Although it has not been in large quantities and only really good organic meats, lately I have been feeling the need to pull back again. A little less consuming of meats in favour of adding in more hearty salads like this with delicious creamy dressings is no compromise whatsoever. Trust me this salad will satisfy even the biggest of meat eaters you know, well at least I hope it will.
shallot fried farro salad with kale, roasted carrots & a sesame miso cashew cream
1 cup of farro
4 cups of water
3 kale stems
3 cloves of garlic
one bunch of radishes
two bunches of carrots with the tops
2 tbsp of sesame oil
sesame miso cashew cream:
- ½ cup of soaked cashews
2 tbsp of sesame oil
2 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp of tahini
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tsp honey (optional)
2 cloves of garlic
1 handful of fresh cilantro (about 3 tbsp or to taste, I like lots)
half the juice of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp of water at a time until you get the consistency you would like
Soak your cashews for at least 4 hours before or overnight.
In a medium sized pot add 1 cup of farro and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then cover and bring the heat down to a low simmer. Cook for 35-45 minutes until tender, or according to the farro package.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Trim the tops of the carrots down to about ½ inch and toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper lined baking tray and roast the carrots for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then turn the oven up to 400 degrees and roast for another 10 minutes.
While the farro is cooking and the carrots are roasting you can make the cashew cream.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and throw them into a high speed blender or food processor with all of the cream ingredients; sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tahini, honey, miso paste, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Blending until you get a creamy consistency, you can add a couple of tablespoons of water to get the consistency you like. It should be thick and creamy but still drizzle like.
Once the farro has cooked, heat up a large pan on the stove and add 2 tbsp of sesame oil. Finely mince the shallot and fry in the pan until browned. Add in the farro and de-stemmed kale (torn into small pieces), cooking until the kale is lightly wilted.
Thinly slice the radishes for topping the salad.
For plating, add a large scoop of the shallot fried farro, then the carrots and radish slices and drizzle with cashew cream. Or alternately you can just pour the cream over the farro and toss it all together.