You guys, I’m just going to come out and say it, I have a huge weakness for Martha Stewart. I know she doesn’t have a reputation for being the most *ahem* ethical person, and there are scores of stories about the ruthless way she
established herself in the industry established an industry. Still, the woman can decorate! And bake! And garden! And make it all look so elegant and effortless! (Having an extra 500 people on hand to propose, develop, and execute ideas probably helps with the effortless part.)
In this month’s issue of Martha Stewart, which mysteriously made it into my cart at Costco, I spotted a delicious looking recipe for freekeh with chickpeas. It looked so yummy that I went to the store the same day to buy the ingredients. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find freekeh, so I bought farro. I can’t comment on how my farro chickpea salad compares to the original, but I can tell you that a certain person who lives in my house–and who usually has to be bullied into eating anything that looks like it might be trying to be healthy–ate two servings of this immediately, and polished off the rest the next day.
The thing to remember with this farro chickpea salad (and any grain based salad, really) is not to skimp on the seasoning. At first, I followed the recipe from Martha Stewart exactly. Well, except for the part where I didn’t have the main ingredient. However, as things progressed, I realized I needed a bit more lemon, a few more pomegranate seeds, and an additional pinch of salt. So, season (and taste!) as you go. If it’s not bright enough, add lemon. If it tastes too bland, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a shake of cayenne. Also, the shallot I used was particularly large, it probably amounted to almost a cup when chopped, so if your shallot looks wimpy, don’t be afraid to add another. Finally, don’t forget to serve with yogurt!
- 1 cup farro (uncooked)
- 2 cups chickpeas (cooked)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet red pepper flakes
- 1 large shallot (diced)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
- 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- olive oil
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- Rinse farro and transfer to a medium sized sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. When the farrow is tender (but still chewier than rice) drain and set aside.
- In a medium sized frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add cumin seeds and toast for about 30 seconds. Add pepper flakes and shallot. After about 2 minutes, add a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the shallot begins to caramelize, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas to the shallot mixture and stir until well incorporated. If there doesn’t seem to be enough oil to lightly coat the chickpeas, add an additional tablespoon.
- Transfer cooked farro and chickpea-shallot mixture to a large bowl and toss together with 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Stir in pomegranate seeds and cilantro.
- Serve warm or cold with a dollop of greek yogurt on the side of each individual plate.