SUMMER IS COMING PEOPLE! This weekend has been SUCH a beautiful sunny couple of days, and as I’ve just come off a week of nights, I couldn’t be happier to be out in the gorgeous Irish sun. Sunny days also make me excited because they mean the return of BARBEQUE season people! And with barbeque season comes every reason to have delicious summer salads to accompany your feast!
So I have decided to start a ‘Summer Salad Series’ – to share a new recipe with you each week (SUNDAY evenings people) that you can throw together for your meal prep, or for your weekend BBQ feasts! I want to show you that ‘salad’ does not equal ‘boring’ or a piece of lettuce on a plate. When I think of a fresh salad, I think of a meal of fresh, colourful wholesome foods – one that is packed with healthy proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micro-nutrients. You and I know for a fact that lettuce on its own does NOT tick all those boxes! So each recipe I share will be based on the same type of ingredients (wholegrains, animal and/or plant protein, healthy fats, veggies, homemade dressing) which I’ll change up each week to give you new ideas to try. I’m so excited to kick this series of with this recipe – Fresh Farro Salad with Roast Sweet Potato, Red Pepper & Kale, topped with pumpkin seeds, feta and a gorgeous lemon tahini dressing. I’ve chosen Farro this week as it’s a grain that I’ve been meaning to cook with for ages – I’ve had it a few times when eating out for lunch and I love its nutty flavour. So when I saw it in Tesco recently (Tesco brand, by the way!) I knew I had to buy it for my first recipe of this series!
Recipe (Makes 4-5 servings)
For the Salad
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 200g Farro (Uncooked)
- 1 medium sized sweet potato (approx. 400g), chopped into 1-2inch chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 2 handfuls of shredded kale leaves, washed and patted dry
- 50g Pumpkin Seeds
- 50g Feta Cheese, Crumbled
- Optional Meaty/Protein Additions: Cooked chicken or turkey pieces, or 1 400g tin of chickpeas
For the Dressing
- 1 tbsp Tahini
- 1 tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- A sprinkle of ground ginger and ground paprika
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Mix the sweet potato, melted coconut oil and cinnamon in a large bowl so the sweet potato pieces are coated. Line a baking tray with tinfoil, and when the oven is ready, roast the sweet potato for 20-30 minutes until a fork easily pierces the flesh.
- Halfway through cooking your sweet potato, add the red bell pepper strips to the baking tray, and roast them for about 10 minutes until slightly charred.
- Cook the farro according to the package instructions. I get mine from Tesco, and cook it by adding to a pot of boiling water, and simmering for 15ish minutes or until softened.
- While the farro and veggies are cooking, take a small bowl, add your salad dressing ingredients to it (tahini, lemon juice, tamari/soy sauce and ground spices) and stir until combined. Leave aside for the moment.
- When the farro is cooked, drain it and place in a large bowl.
- When the sweet potatoes and red pepper strips are done, add them to the farro, and stir everything.
- Next, add the kale leaves and pumpkin seeds, and mix it all up again!
- Pour your dressing on top of the salad, and toss the salad with a large spoon or pair of tongs so everything is coated in the dressing.
- Finally, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top. Your fabulous farro salad is ready to serve!
- Note: If I’m using this for meal prep for work lunches, I add some cooked/roasted chicken or turkey pieces, or a tin of tuna to this salad for a protein kick!
Enjoy guys! I really hope you’ll love these salads as much as I love creating AND eating them! I want to show you that salad is NOT a diet concept – in fact, it’s a brilliant and tasty way to get lots of veggies and fibre into your day, and it IS sustainable if you use wholesome, REAL foods to create it. I would love your feedback as always, both on this recipe and any sorts of salad creations you’d like me to try for this series! Tag me if you try this out – @theirishbalance on Instagram and Twitter!
Ciara 🙂 x