A few years ago I was gifted Deb Perlman’s “Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” and let’s just say I have been smitten ever since. Some of her recipes I draw inspiration from, others I am anxious and excited to try, and then there are a few that I am in love with and have perfected over time.
The thing I love most about Deb Perlman, her blog, and her cookbook, is that she encourages trying new kinks to her recipes, and offers advice on other ways to switch it up. She is also very good about responding to the comment section of her blog, as in that one time I wanted to substitute barley for this particular recipe, and she responded! (*Hint, you can substitute barley!)
My girlfriends and I try to get together once or twice a month to watch the Bachelor when it is on, and indulge in food and libations while we cringe over rose ceremonies. Once last season, my dear friend Alysha was hosting, and she introduced me to this recipe. This recipe is perfect for cold Chicago winters, but also great in spring and summer. I introduce whatever veggies I have in my fridge in addition to the carrots and parsnips. On this particular occasion, I also had brussel sprouts, so I roasted them too, and added it to the salad.
I have implemented and love the use of colored carrots; last summer I grew them in my garden and was always anxious to make this dish once they harvested throughout the season. I also sometimes substitute the mint with cilantro if I don’t have any. It is another great contrast to the light, sweet, yet slightly spicy dressing. The best part about being introduced to this salad, was also being introduced to harissa, a Moroccan staple that I now put in almost anything and everything. I make this dressing for other salads, too!
Honey and Harissa Farro Salad
- 2 cup uncooked farro
- 8 cups water or broth
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound carrots (about 8 medium)
- 2 pound (about 4 large) parsnips
- 10 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon harissa, or to taste
- 2 teaspoon honey
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
- A few pinches of ground cumin
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cup (8 ounces) crumbled feta
- In a large pot, bring the farro, water or broth, and a few pinches of salt (if using water or unsalted broth) to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the farro until tender, for about 15 to 20 minutes. If extra water or broth remains, drain it. Set the farro aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets by coating each with one tablespoon of olive oil. Peel carrots and parsnips, and cut them into 2-inch lengths, and then lengthwise into matchsticks about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheets and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven. After 20 minutes, remove the pans from the pans from the oven to stir, and then return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together, seasoning to taste with salt. Use more harissa if you’d like more heat. In a large bowl, combine farro and roasted vegetables. Stir in most of the mint and feta, leaving a bit of each for garnish. Stir in dressing, to taste. Serve, garnished with the reserved feta and mint.
Source: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook