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Farro Salad Primavera
 
If you're looking to mix up something different look no further than this pasta salad, featuring farro, that's anything but ordinary. Farro, also called emmer, is an ancient strain of wheat from the Middle East that is widely used in Italy and is now gaining popularity throughout the world. It's slightly higher in fiber and protein than barley and brown rice, but it can be a more expensive so feel free to substitute another whole grain like bulgar. Research has shown that whole grains, added to a diet high in a variety of vegetables and fruits, may help protect against colorectal cancer. This salad combines all of those elements into one healthful starter.

Farro SaladIngredients

3/4 cup farro
3 cups cold water
12 small sugar-snap peas (or zucchini chunks)
5 fresh asparagus spears, cut in 1-inch pieces (or use green beans)
2 large white mushrooms, stemmed
1 lemon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
10 grape tomatoes, halved length-wise
2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots

(For the healthiest recipe, use fresh organic content whenever possible)
 
Directions
 
1. In medium saucepan, combine farro with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until farro is slightly al dente, about 30 minutes. Drain in colander, then rinse farro under cool water and drain well. Place cooked farro in mixing bowl.

2. Steam peas and asparagus for 3 minutes. Immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them crisp-tender. Drain well and add to farro. Add tomatoes and shallots to farro.

3. To cube mushrooms, cut one vertically into 6 slices. Holding it together, rotate mushroom 90 degrees and make 5 cuts. Lay resulting matchsticks on their sides and cut crosswise, making cubes. Repeat to cut second mushroom. Add mushrooms to salad. Grate zest from half the lemon and add to salad.

4. For dressing, squeeze one tablespoon juice from lemon into small bowl. Mix in salt until it dissolves. Add 4-5 grinds pepper. Whisk in oil. Pour dressing over salad and toss with fork to combine. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 170 calories, 6 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate, 
6 g protein 4 g dietary fiber, 300 mg sodium.

Note: If desired, you can assemble salad up to 1 hour before serving, then add dressing at the last minute.
 
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