Fitness Friday #4: Farro, The Ancient Grain
Welcome to another installment of “Fitness Friday” tracking my journey as I train for the More/Fitness Half-Marathon in April. This week was fun! Especially since I was able to work out at a fantastic gym near my parents house in the Chicago area. I love gyms with indoor running tracks. A nice soft surface and no sunburn!
So far the distances aren’t too far, so I have started to keep track of my times in an effort to guesstimate how long it will take me to complete all 13.1 miles. But you know what? I am not going to let that number on the clock bother me. I know I am not fast, I won’t be a leader in my age group, I am in this to cross that finish line!
Yesterday for lunch I made one of my favorite whole grain salads. This dish is flavorful, filling and a fun way to enjoy an ancient grain – farro. This is a great post-workout meal. It also is perfect for a brown bag lunch as it can be enjoyed warm or room temperature.
One of the most intriguing culinary trends emerging in the past few years has been the popularity of “ancient grains” such as quinoa, kamut, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat and farro. These hearty, nutrient-rich whole grains add unbelievable texture to recipes. If you are looking to break out of a pasta or rice rut, why not give one of these “ancient grains” new life in a modern dish.
This simple, yet decadent recipe uses the robust ancient Mediterrenean grain farro, and pairs it with cubes of ricotta salata, a dry salted ricotta cheese that has a sharp, almost tangy flavor.
1 cup farro, rinsed
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cubed ricotta salata
2/3 cup toasted coarsely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup julienne cut moist-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3/4 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette:
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
Garnish: Sprigs of flat leaf parsley or fresh oregano
1. Place farro, water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes.
2. While farro is cooking, place all remaining salad ingredients except dressing in a medium serving bowl. After farro is cooked, spoon into a colander and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place warm farro in serving bowl with other ingredients and stir to blend.
3. Combine all dressing ingredients except oregano in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in fresh oregano. (note: if you use dried oregano, you can just add to the rest of ingredients in blender)
4. Add dressing and stir to coat all ingredients. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Every Friday I like to leave you with a quote to think about and take with you into the weekend. Like I said, I am not going to obsess about my time on this half-marathon journey. I think time is such a gift and each day we get to choose how we spend it. How are you going to make every second count?
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