I've had a pretty full bag of wheat berries in my pantry for a while now because I haven't had a thing to do with them. They're not something you can cook up quickly for a weeknight dinner. Last weekend, I decided to cook a big batch and freeze smaller batches so they're ready for an easy weeknight salad. As I was searching for recipes, I discovered that wheat berries are also interchangeable with farro. The wheat berry is the whole wheat kernel, so it takes a bit longer to cook. The revelation led to a whole new world of recipes!
When I read through my June/July Eating Well magazine, I found this recipe for roasted fennel and farro salad. I've tried to like fennel, but I'm not a licorice fan, and it's the dominant flavor. I thought if I roasted it and added a few more vegetables and flavors, I might like it...and I was right! I actually really enjoyed the sweetness the fennel added, and this whole salad just screams healthy and hearty. It wasn't favorable heating the oven up to 400* to roast the veggies when it's close to one hundred degrees outside, but I was able to find a few other things to add to the oven so I won't need to turn the oven on for another few days.
I kept close to the original recipe, adding beets for more color and flavor, feta because everything's better with cheese, onions and garlic, for a bit more flavor.
Roasted Fennel, Beet and Pepper Farro Salad
adapted from Eating Well June/July 2010
2 c. farro or wheat berries, prepared (about 2/3 c. dried)
1 large bulb of fennel, trimmed and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 medium beets, peeled and diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped kalamata olives
1/4 c. crumbled feta
Heat oven to 425*
Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
Add fennel, peppers, onions and garlic to baking sheet, toss with 1 tbsp. EVOO, salt and pepper, move to one side of the baking sheet.
Add beets to the other side, toss with 1 tbsp. EVOO, salt and pepper (I kept beets separate so they wouldn't stain the other vegetables).
Roast for 35-40 minutes, until vegetables are tender and caramelized.
Add vinegar and thyme to a serving bowl, toss with farro.
Add vegetables and olives, toss to combine.
Top with feta and serve warm or at room temperature.