Roasted root vegetable, kale and farro salad
I've been sitting on this recipe for awhile, and I'm not sure why. Time, mostly, I think. A little of the usual chagrin at my compulsion to record and share something that seems maybe too easy and intuitive, or so versatile that there is barely a skeletal model to vary. Yet that is the beauty of it. All we need is the reminder of all the natural deliciousness that is fall vegetables. A simple medley is both earthy rich and subtly sweet. Roasted, whatever you create is nothing short of sublime.
There's not much to this dish beyond the idea, though the recipe is an ever toothsome standby. Not into grains? Take them out. Roast vegetables tossed with any sort of greens and a light dressing are a beautiful side. With grains, like chewy farro or nutty quinoa, and maybe some chickpeas or cubed baked tofu--you've got an easy, filling meal that takes a little time...but it's mostly hands-off time.
When we were in Iceland...wait. Is this becoming annoying, how I am infusing little travel notes into every blog post recently? If so, I am sorry. And also, I am bound to keep doing so, just a bit more. Because having scrimped and saved for ages for a month of family travel that is surely a trip of a lifetime, I need to find ways of tucking little notes everywhere I can before I forget them. And also, I am pretty pleased with how we managed to stick to a rather penny-pinching budget during said trip, not least when it came to food. Which brings me back to Iceland. That beautiful, harsh, raw, uplifting country of sharp contrasts, of fire and ice, of Northern Lights fame (that we didn't get to see)...the one EVERYONE told us was over -the- moon expensive to eat in.
Everyone was right. Iceland is AMAZING. It operates on 100% renewable energy, for one thing. That alone is enough to earn unswerving loyalty in my book. Its vast stretches of varied landscapes, often with an otherworldly feel, has a unique way of stirring a heightened sense of being part of the planet Earth. It's a feeling that goes beyond even a passionate appreciation for nature. Even in at the sites most heaving with tourists, there is something that speaks to the overwhelming and magnificent connection to the cosmos. And there are also $40 sandwiches.
Having been duly warned, we went to Iceland prepared to eat apples and PB & J all week. We even packed a jar of natural peanut butter, in case we had trouble finding any without addends like sugar and palm oil. We soon found, however, that grocery stores were reasonable. We had hoped, given Icelanders rely on them for groceries, but we'd heard so much about the staggering cost of food we couldn't be sure. Adding to our relief at the grocery bill, we stayed in a lovely home which the owners kept stocked with a variety of staples for guests to use, including a range of spices, vinegar and olive oil. All we needed was to mix and match the vegetables available for something absolutely satisfying to conclude an adventurous day and fuel the next.
Here is your gentle reminder that dinner can be as simple as roasting and tossing. Fall vegetables are failsafe bliss. Mix and match, and away you go. :)
Roasted root vegetable and farro salad
- 1 1/2 cups farro (or other grain, like quinoa)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into approximately 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large parsnip, peeled, halved, and cut into approximately 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 medium golden beets, scrubbed and wrapped in foil
- 4 cups baby kale or other greens
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the farro: combine with 4 cups lightly salted water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Place the vegetables on a large nonstick rimmed baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray and a sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes; turn and roast approximately 20 minutes longer, until vegetables are tender and browning on edges (leave beets wrapped in foil longer in oven, as needed, before removing from foil, peeling and cutting into cubes).
- Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey or maple syrup, oil, salt and pepper until blended.
- In a salad bowl, combine the farro, kale, and roasted vegetables. Add the dressing and toss until coated.