A filling and healthy dinner salad, this hearty farro beet salad is tossed with roasted beets and turnips, feta cheese, mixed greens, dates, toasted pecans and crispy chickpeas. All drizzled with a simple mustard vinaigrette. Nom!
This hearty farro beet salad has it all! Cheese, carbs, crunch, some plant based protein and a bunch of delicious, healthy stuff (not to get too technical). Winner winner salad dinner!
In the summertime, I am all about the hearty dinner salad. Any cooking that may need to be done can be accomplished in the morning or the night before. If I can avoid using any heated sources in my house during peak hours I will do it! Cuz this girl is a sweat bomb. Like I have nightmares of me being the only person in my middle school gym class who is red faced with sweaty pits. Until I realized that ACTUALLY happened!
The thing about this hearty farro beet salad is that it has so much texture and crunch. Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami run through this whole dish. The acid from the mustard vinaigrette cuts the fat from the pecans and feta. The sweetness of the dates compliments the bitter bite of the greens. The roasted beets and turnips offer a sweet earthiness that’s hard to find in any other food.
What’s in Season this Week | June 28-July 4
To all of you who have been following along in this“What to Do with Your CSA Farm Share” series, Plainsong Farm and I have been so happy to see your photos and hear how the coconut curry lentils with kohlrabi went. Keep on sharing your stuff! Just a little note for the next couple weeks. In early July my family is moving from Toronto to Michigan (yay and sob). I will still continue to post throughout the move but I may not be as responsive to comments and questions during this time. I am excited to settle in and start cooking with that fresh Michigan produce.
FOODS YOU’LL LIKELY FIND AT FARMER’S MARKETS OR IN YOUR FARM SHARE THIS WEEK:
- hakurei salad turnips
- braising greens (mustard greens, kale tatsoi, hon tsoi toi)
- snap peas
- garlic scapes
- summer squash (yellow zucchini, patty pan)
The bold veggies are what’s going in this hearty farro beet salad.
Hearty Farro Beet Salad
There are three things you need to cook for this recipe: the farro (considered the ancient mother to wheat), beets and turnips, and chickpeas. And even though their is some cooking involved, they need very little attention and can be forgotten until that handy timer buzzes. Everything else you can save until the last minute. Need to a bring a side to a summer barbecue? This one will be a winner. Cuz do you really need another potato salad?
Beets and beet Greens
I used to always think of beets as a fall vegetable. I kind of lumped it in with squash and sweet potatoes. But, fortunately, beets are around for most of the summer as well as the fall. You always want to wash them and trim them of their greens. Save the greens for the salad portion. Beet greens are packed with vitamin A (antioxidant) and are also a great source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and that coveted vitamin K. There are several methods of using beets:
Add your washed and trimmed beets to a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water up to a boil and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Prick them with a fork. The fork will go all the way through when they’re done. Drain the beets and soak them in cold water until cool enough to handle. The beet skins will easily come off by rubbing them with a paper towel.
You can either roast your beets whole or peel and dice them before roasting them. You can use either method in this recipe, but to get a cripsy, roasty beet I am going to suggest peeling and dicing them first. To roast the beets whole, heat your oven to 400 F. Cut the bottom and the top off the beets so they lay flat on a pan. Place the beets on top of a large piece of tin foil. Drizzle with a refined oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then you can fold the foil up, rolling it together, to create a little tent for the beets. Roast for about 1 hour. Allow to cool and then rub away the skins with a paper towel.
Beets can also be eaten raw. Shred them like a carrot and toss them in your next salad for lunch. Bleu cheese and beets are money! They are also a gorgeous addition to your crudité platter thinly sliced with a mandolin.
Pickled or Canned:
Check out this recipe for lacto-fermented beets and turnips!
The little baby version of the medium size root vegetable, salad turnips are much sweeter and more tender than the larger version. They can be eaten raw, sautéd or roasted. Their greens are soft and delicious in salad as well as kimchi! There are so many nutritional benefits of turnips and their greens it would be a blog post just to list them all. I’ll just mention that the greens have omega-3’s and otherwise they’re crazy good for you.
I couldn’t locate salad turnips for my photos so I just diced up a large turnip. For this recipe I recommend cutting the little salad turnips in half and roasting them with a little salt.
I love the way this hearty farro beet salad is balanced with the saltiness of feta and the sweetness of chopped dates. The tender chewy texture of cooked farro against the crunch of toasted pecans and chickpeas. The simple dijon dressing makes all those gorgeous greens sing and the beets and turnips come together. Maybe by the end of the meal you can wake up from euphoria and remember, “oh yeah, I just ate a bunch of vitamin K and supported a small local farm.” Then you can give yourself a high five.
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- 2 beets, peeled and diced into ½ in/1.5 cm cubes
- 10-12 salad turnip roots, trimmed (you can also use a regular turnip that is peeled and diced)
- 1 tbsp refined oil like pure olive, canola, grapeseed or refined coconut
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup farro
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
- ¼ tsp sea salt (use more if you're cooking with water)
- 1 can 14 fl oz/398 mL chick peas
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp refined oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 2 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 cups beet greens, washed, trimmed of stem, and roughly chopped
- 1 cup turnip greens, washed, trimmed of stem, and roughly chopped
- 1 cup mixed salad greens or arugula
- ½ cup feta, crumbled (I used a sheep and cow milk feta for bolder flavor
- ½ cup dates, pitted and chopped
- ½ cup pecans, either raw or roasted. Raw pecans need to be roasted in the oven for 8 minutes first, which is my preference.
- Heat your oven to 400 F/200 C/6 gas and turn on an episode of the podcast "How to Be Amazing" with Michael Ian Black. They are all good!
- BEETS AND TURNIPS: A tip for dicing your beets. Place a piece of plastic wrap over your cutting board prior to cutting. This will keep the beets from "bleeding" all over your cutting board. Plastic gloves help too! Oh, and maybe not a white shirt.
- On a sheet pan, toss the beets and whole baby turnips with the oil and salt. Throw em in the oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway, or until the beets are nice and tender and the turnips are slightly caramelized.
- FARRO: Rinse the farro in a fine mesh strainer with cold water. Place the farro and stock in a medium sized sauce pan with the salt and bring to a boil. Once boiled turn down to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Drain the excess stock and rinse the farro with cold water to cool.
- CHICKPEAS: Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them on a tea towel and cover it so that you can rub off the excess moisture. On another sheet pan, toss together the chickpeas, spices, and oil until the chickpeas are evenly coated with oil and spices. Place the chickpeas in the oven for 12 minutes. Take them out and give them a good shake. Cook 12 more minutes. Set them aside to cool.
- DRESSING: In a small mason jar, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Give it a real good shake until everything is mixed together. Taste to adjust seasoning.
- BUILD THE SALAD: In a large salad bowl lay out your washed and chopped greens. Top the greens with the farro, roasted beets and turnips, chickpeas, feta, dates, and pecans. Toss the salad together with the dressing. To make the salad last longer for left overs, toss everything together but the greens, adding them in as you eat it. The salad without the greens will last for three days in the fridge.