Monday, April 9, 2012

Pintesting Asparagus and Chickpea Salad

Well hello there! Monday already huh? Ugh.

Alright, let's do this.

First up is Asparagus and Chickpea Farro Salad very slightly adapted from this one. By adapted I mean I left out the mint and the cheese. The mint I had on hand, but didn't feel like adding it to the salad. The cheese well...I left it out because I've greatly reduced (as in almost none) the amount of dairy I consume. I'll get into that some other time, but for now let's just say I can breathe easier without it.

On to the salad!

What drew me to this salad was the farro. Farro is an ancient grain that is gaining popularity in the U.S., and is commonly grown in Italy. It's a hefty grain that cooks up plump and chewy. Because of it's heft it should keep you full for hours. I first came across farro in this recipe from Joy the Baker. Ever since I saw that recipe I've been wanting to try it out. I finally picked some up a couple of weeks ago and decided to give it a go with today's recipe. 

At the grocery store you will most likely come across semi-pearled farro, but it's also becoming easier to find whole grain farro. Semi-pearled farro has had some of the bran and nutrients removed, but not all. Whole grain is well whole, meaning the bran is intact. Because of this you would want to soak a whole grain farro overnight or at least 8 hours. It'll take longer to cook if you don't soak it overnight. With a semi-pearled farro you can skip the overnight soaking that many grains require and jump right into cooking it. For this recipe I used a semi-pearled farro.

I started the recipe by cooking the farro first. I knew it would take about 20-25 minutes to cook, so I wanted to make sure that was well under way. As it cooked I prepped the remaining ingredients.

Next, the asparagus. The original salad calls for blanched asparagus. This was a step that would have required me bringing another pot of water to boil and I just couldn't be bothered. Lazy much?

What I did instead was cut up the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and then briefly sauteed them with some olive oil and salt. I let them get some color, but didn't cook them too long or they would lose some of their crunch. The rest was just a matter of opening a can of chickpeas, rinsing and draining them. I then sliced up the green onions and chopped up some dill. Fresh from my garden I might add :)

The only other prep was making the honey dijon vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes could not be simpler to make. Just put all your ingredients into a bowl and whisk. Or my favorite, which is to put everything in a mason jar and shake! Delicious dressing and upper arm workout!

Once I had everything prepped it was just a matter of tossing everything together in a big bowl. Gotta love a simple recipe.

The final product was really tasty! I loved the chewiness of the farro and because of it's heft felt that it held up nicely with all the other ingredients. The asparagus mixed with the dill and vinaigrette was just right. I didn't feel that one flavor dominated the other. Everyone played nicely. The chickpeas were fine. Nothing spectacular. They added some additional protein, but didn't stand out like the other ingredients. I wonder if freshly cooked chickpeas might have been better? But the point of this recipe was it's simplicity. I wouldn't leave them out, but they weren't my favorite part.

The only other thing I considered doing was adding some kalamata olives. I had them, but completely forgot to add them. Kalamata olives have a strong flavor, so I'm not sure if they would have gone well in this salad. I guess I'll just have to eat them by themselves. Poor me.

So there you have it! My riff on Asparagus and Chickpea Farro Salad. A simple, delicious and healthy weeknight meal.


Asparagus and Chickpea Farro Salad
recipe ever so slightly adapted from Closet Cooking


  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1-2 tsps of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful dill, chopped

Lemon Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

recipe from Closet Cooking


  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon and/or grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (optional, so I left it out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Directions
  1. Cook the farro as directed on the package. Once done set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  3. Add the cut asparagus and cook 3 minutes. Stir and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. You want the asparagus to be tender, but still bright green. Season with salt and set aside. 
  4. Make vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a bowl and whisking. Or you can throw everything into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake. 
  5. Place all ingredients, except vinaigrette, into a large bowl and toss to mix. Pour vinaigrette over mixed salad and mix once more to incorporate. 

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