The past three weeks or so have been an absolute roller coaster ride of happenings and emotions for me. Between the insane work issues, the crazy peeping jerk, the unexpected return of an ex-boyfriend, getting the book ready, and learning that my poor mom was in a bad car accident this evening, my stress level has been beyond high lately. My body’s starting to feel it, too, so instead of indulging in a mountain of Ritter Sport chocolate (best chocolate bars on the planet, imo) and gallons of Ben & Jerry’s like most normal stressed people would, I have realized that I need to get in a good amount of veggies and other good food in me so I can deal with all of this without getting sick. And since I have the tendency to be sick on or around my birthday, I have extra incentive to fuel my body with good food.
It’s not that I’ve been eating poorly lately; I try to make sure I have something good for me at least twice a day. But I could definitely use a pick-me-up, and I thought the remainder of some summer squash, zucchini, and carrots would be a good way to go. I also found a random bag of farro in my cupboard today and figured I could make a nice summer salad out of this little batch of ingredients. A salad is not complete without its proper dressing, of course, and taking some inspiration from one of my favorite food bloggers EVER, Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com, I played around with a my own version of a citrus parmesan vinaigrette until I was satisfied with the result.
If you’re unable to find farro or spelt berries, or if you have any wheat allergies, by all means feel free to make this with brown rice instead. The cooking time for the grains is roughly the same, so there won’t be too much of a difference in prep time. If you have your own garden (or generous friends & neighbors like I have), take advantage of the free and superfresh produce in order to further reduce the cost of this already affordable recipe. Other than that, there’s not much to note! This is very easy to make, quite tasty, and a great way to get in some extra veggies that you may be missing.
Summer Veggie & Farro Salad with Citrus Parmesan Dressing (serves 6; total cost per serving: $1.25)
1 large carrot
1 c salted water
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
1 small red onion
Extra freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Citrus Parmesan Dressing
2 T olive oil
Juice of 1 small orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 t thyme
1/4 t salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients and blending together with a hand blender until smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use for the salad.
Cook the farro according to the package instructions (general rule is 2 1/2 c water per cup of dry farro, 20 minute cooking time). Allow to cool while chopping the zucchini, summer squash, carrot, and onion into 1/2″ size pieces. Blanche only the carrot pieces for about 45 seconds in the rapidly boiling salted water. Remove from pot and cool under cold running water. This will ensure that the carrots are slightly tender but still crunchy. There is no need to do this with the zucchini and squash as they are already tender vegetables. In a large bowl, combine the farro and veggies, and toss together. Add the dressing and mix together well. Chill for about an hour, or serve right away with extra grated parmesan cheese and a twist of lemon for garnish. Enjoy!
*Note: If you like a more moist salad, feel free to double the dressing recipe and reserve the 2nd half for drizzling on top (the farro & veggies will absorb the first half in a few hours anyway). Just an extra tip! PG