This farro salad of bright orange apricots topped with melty fresh mozzarella, and sprinkled with red walnuts and ribbons of mint is so many things: a perfect summer main dish salad, a quick and easy Meatless Monday meal, or a deliciously healthy, whole food appetizer. Fruit and cheese is always a natural pairing, but the nutty crunchy goodness of farro and vibrant red walnuts takes it up a notch in taste and visual appeal.
Just as in the world of fashion, what’s old is new again in the food arena and farro is among the ancient grains that are making a “comeback”. To quote FoodieCrush contributor Hayley Putnam: “Kamut. Freekeh. Teff. These aren’t foreign countries, they’re ancient grains, and just like blue jeans with torn knees and backyard chicken coops, they’re making a comeback.” I’ve been in a cooking rut lately, and after reading her article, 10 Good for you Ancient Grains, I was inspired to create a grain salad of apricots – the first of this year’s stone fruit season courtesy of Melissa’s Produce – and the wonderful Sanguinetti Red Walnuts which I was introduced to at Camp Blogaway and have since fallen in love with.
Red Walnuts are creamy like English Walnuts, but sweeter. They are not genetically modified and were created at the University of California, Davis using natural methods of grafting Persian red-skinned walnuts onto larger and creamier English walnuts. Red walnuts are only red on the inside, the tree and the shells look just like your typical English walnuts. Red Walnuts have only been available commercially for three years, but are rapidly gaining in popularity because they are larger and sweeter than regular brown walnuts, as well as having less tannins and higher oil content.
Incorporating ancient grains in your cooking offers a panoply of taste and textures that can add heft to vegetarian main dishes, change up your usual side dishes, and are deliciously satisfying, nutritious, and high in fiber. Farro (also known in the US as emmer) is an ancient strain of wheat known for its earthy nuttiness and satisfying chew, the whole grain variety (vs. semi-pearled) offers the highest amount of fiber and nutrients like Vitamin B3 and zinc. Quinoa is one of the super grains that has become well known in the past few years, other hot super grains to keep an eye out for are farro, spelt, teff, kamut, amaranth, millet, freekah, sorghum, and chia (actually a seed).
- 1 cup of cooked farro
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Chaparral GardensKafir Lime Vinegar*
- 8 apricots halved
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 8 ounces Ciliegine fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup Red Walnut pieces
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced mint
Prepare the farro according to package directions. Allow to cool. Combine one cup farro with lemon olive oil and vinegar.
Slice the apricots in half lengthwise, twist to separate, remove the seed. Place the apricot halves on a baking sheet, brush with honey, put one mozzarella ball in the middle of each, broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Arrange the farro on a platter, top with apricots. Sprinkle with red walnuts and mint.
If you buy farro in bulk, bring 1 cup farro and 1-1/2 cups water to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Ciliegine are small balls of mozzarella - about the size of a cherry tomato - and available at Trader Joe's and other markets.
Apple cider vinegar may be substituted for the Kafir Lime vinegar.
Whether you serve this dazzling dish as a starter, salad, or side, I’m pretty sure you and your dining companions will love it. Enjoy!
More about ancient grains:
10 Ancient Grains to Watch: from kamut to quinoa – Food Navigator USA
10 Grains You Should Be Cooking With Right Now – Foodie Crush