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Not just a side: Farro and Green Bean Salad

farro and green bean salad

I always shop for food with the best of intentions: I want healthy, in-season produce with which to make new and interesting meals. Hopefully, these meals are both dinner-worthy and blog-worthy, but of course that isn’t always the case.  

Because of these (quite lofty, really) ideals, I always try to push my boundaries with the food that I buy, often picking out things just because they look interesting or pretty. Therein lies the problem. While I probably like a good variety of vegetables, there are far fewer that I actually know what to do with. So my good intentions can often languish in the vegetable crisper for days, resulting in wilted vegetables and a benign sense of failure.

I hinted on Sunday that I was half-expecting this outcome with the green beans I bought. They always say “side” to me, and as someone far too lazy for anything more than one-dish meals, that never bodes well. My patch for this problem (quite common for vegetarians) is to add starch: grains and legumes can both help to elevate a modest vegetable to something resembling a meal. 

Casting my net around for some inspiration, I saw this salad over at 100 Cookbooks yesterday. I’ve never seen wheat berries in the shops around here, but I figured they couldn’t be that different from my favourite go-to grain, farro. With the rocket thrown in for good measure and a favourite salad dressing to bring everything together, the flavours became perfectly balanced: nutty, sweet, spicy. The slight tang of the dressing and the salty pecorino finished things off perfectly.

I’m already looking forward to having the rest of this for lunch tomorrow, so I guess that makes this meal dinner-worthy, blog-worthy and leftover-worthy. Not bad for a “side-dish veg”, wouldn’t you agree?farro and beans

  • Farro and Green Bean Salad
  • serves 3 as a main, more as a side
  • Salad
    1 cup (approx 180g) uncooked farro
    225g green beans 
    several handfuls (approx 35g) young, fresh rocket
    black pepper, to taste
    pecorino romano cheese, to serve

    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    2 tsp. soy sauce
    1 tsp. honey
    juice and half a lime
    pinch of sea salt
    black pepper 

  • 1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. When it boils, add the farro and cook for 25 minutes, until tender but still slightly chewy. 

    2. Trim the stem ends of the green beans, and if they’re very long, cut them into manageable 2-3″ lengths. Add to the boiling water (with the farro) for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse everything in cold water and set aside in a large bowl.

    3. Meanwhile, mix together all dressing ingredients. Pepper to taste, mix well and set aside. 

    4. Just before you’re ready to eat, toss the farro and bean mixture with the dressing and rocket. Serve with shaved pecorino and freshly ground pepper on top.


  1. Dawn says:

    Looks awesome Ele. I’ve bookmarked it for dinner next week.

    My favourite grain is barley, I love it in soups and stews for a nutty taste and chewy texture.

  2. Ele says:

    Dawn- I love barley, I used to have it at home in Canada. I can never find it here, though. I’m so bad a finding stuff in the grocery stores here- it took me months to track down rolled oats! (At home they’re with the baking stuff, here with the cereals.)

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