Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Chicken, Farro, and Spinach Salad

Farro is a variety of wheat cultivated in Italy and across the Mediterranean. Its protein and fiber content makes it especially nutritious, and the nutty flavor and chewy texture make it perfect for hearty soups and salads.

Like bulgur and other grains, farro is sold whole-grain, semi-pearled, or pearled, which refers to the presence or absence of the natural germ and bran. Whole-grain includes both the germ and bran, semi-pearled contains a partial amount, and pearled means that the germ and bran were removed during hulling. While the whole-grain variety is the highest in nutritional value, all types are good for you—and the pearled and semi-pearled cook more quickly.
Pearled Farro
There are many methods of cooking farro, but the one I like best is simply to treat it like pasta. Stir it into a pot of boiling, salted water and cook until al dente—25 to 30 minutes for pearled or semi-pearled. Give it a taste after 25 minutes to check the texture. Slightly chewy is good.

This easy, one-dish dinner is as flavorful as it is nutritious—all good, no guilt.

Tip: Mix warm chicken breast into the salad just before serving to slightly wilt the spinach leaves. 

Serves 4

  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pearled or semi-pearled farro
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 tsp honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb warm, cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

Salad Ingredients
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Stir in the farro and cook until al dente, 25-30 minutes. Drain and spread the cooked farro on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool.

Drained, Cooked Farro
Cooled, Dried Farro
  1. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, oil, and honey in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the cooled faro in a large bowl. Add the chicken breast, spinach, bell pepper, onion, and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Add the juice mixture, stirring gently to combine.

Dressing for the Salad
Mixed Ingredients
Divide the salad among 4 bowls and serve with lemon wedges, passing olive oil at the table for drizzling. 

Chicken, Farro, and Spinach Salad

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