Wanna know a secret? I adore salads. I will swap out a side of fries for a side salad 98% of the time, especially if the eatery has chunky blue cheese dressing or their side salad is made with mixed greens and topped with egg. I am that person. I will undoubtedly talk you into getting fries, so I can steal a few and have the best of both worlds. Sorry/not sorry.
I like being able to go outside the box and venture into salads where there are no leafy greens. No kale or spinach or arugula. Exit greens and enter hearty grains. Goodbye to creamy dressings and hello light vinaigrettes. They are great to make ahead and store wonderfully in the fridge and travel so well that you will become the salad go-to person for picnics and cookouts.
I jumped on the invitation and ran into the kitchen to whip up this Farro, Cheddar, Walnut, and Apple Salad by Joanne Weir.
Can we talk about this salad for a second. I don’t know about you, but I crave salads that have both sweet and salty tones. Savory and nutty. Sweet and sugary. All in one forkful. Chunks of sharp cheddar cheese and crisp granny smith apples, super powers – the original sweet and salty combo. Toss in the nutty farro and crunchy – I made twice the amount because I couldn’t stop eating them by the handful – roasted walnuts and you have yourself quite the mouth party.
Let’s get to tossing.
Vinaigrette is up first. Whisk together all ingredients and set aside. This one is simple and really lets the flavors shine.
Fancy extra virgin olive oil is perfect here…it is one of just a few ingredients.
A great nuttiness and roasted flavor comes through with the walnut oil and I was surprised at how much I was able to detect it in the final dish. It added what they call depth. Haha…I don’t know. Seriously though, it was good.
Sherry vinegar. Good luck finding – in three grocery stores, I was not able to find and therefore used white wine vinegar. I believe I could have also used champagne or rice wine vinegar. I am thinking of ordering some sherry vinegar online because this salad is going in my rotation.
Whisk together and with a touch of fresh ground black pepper … you are golden. Literally.
The farro will need cooked and cooled. So while, that is going down on the stove top…chop all the ingredients and roast the walnuts (make extra, they are too good to not snack upon).
celery. walnuts. apple. cheddar. parsley. farro. vinaigrette.
let’s get this party started!
it all goes into a bowl that is just a touch too small to mix a salad in. am i the only one that does this? always? i can’t seem to ever pick the appropriate size bowl … it is always too small. and stan always has a good snack from the mess i end up making. le sigh. or is it la? sorry, i am watching the French Open as i type this up.
drizzle on the vinaigrette and toss to combine. i added a nice squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to round out the flavors.
tossing the salad with your hands…satisfying as kneading dough. promise.
serve immediately. or pack up and head to that weekend cookout.
i paired mine with a bit of red wine for quite the decadent saturday afternoon lunch.
- 1 cup Farro, dry
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup walnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, ½-inch cubes
- 2 Granny Smith apples, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (sherry vinegar in original recipe)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- juice of half of a lemon (optional)
- Place farro in a bowl and cover with cold water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place farro in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water so that water is about 2 inches above farro. Add in one teaspoon of salt.
- Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to maintain a simmer (medium low) and let cook until tender and soft but still with a bit of a bite - about 15 minutes. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet and let cool completely.
- While cooling, prepare vinaigrette. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large salad bowl, gently toss together farro, roasted walnuts, celery, cheese, apples, and parsley. Drizzle vinaigrette and the juice of ½ of a lemon over salad. Toss to combine.
- Serve immediately. Stores well in fridge in an airtight container.