Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Everyone’s talking about Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up show on Netflix.
I haven’t seen it. And honestly, I probably never will. I haven’t even finished re-watching all of Dawson’s Creek yet (still have 2 more seasons to go…I’m committed), and I simply don’t have enough time. I’m very busy and important.
That’s the party line.
The truth is, I am both a hoarder and a quitter. Could I benefit from implementing Marie’s teachings? Yes. In doing so, would I create a giant mess in my apartment that possibly leads to divorce? Also, yes.
Just to give you a point of reference, I did my annual closet purge three full weeks ago. There’s still a giant “undecided” pile next to my bed, and the boxes of clothes for donation and resale have taken up residence in the living room. That was only a mini purge, people! If I tried to get rid of everything in my life that didn’t spark joy, it would take weeks (months! years!), and I would most definitely give up halfway through. There’d likely be a single drawer of origami folded underwear, and the rest of my apartment would be covered in t-shirts, books, and 800 partially used bottles of face oil.
At least I’m self-aware?
Anyhoo, while I’m not going to KonMari my apartment anytime soon, I do love the general conversation being had about “sparking joy” recently. It dovetails nicely with my 2019 goal to celebrate the “feel good” things in my life on a daily basis. And one of the most joyous/feel good parts of my day?
I do my best build in time each day to sit and eat something delicious and nutritious for lunch while letting my mind wander. Sometimes I make something hot (like a frittata, fall sheet pan, or some sort of fancy toast), which is one of the luxuries of working from home, but I’m usually eating a quick salad or something I’ve prepped earlier in the week for the specific purpose of sassy desk lunching. My personal favorite make-ahead SDL is a good old grain salad that holds up well in the fridge for a few days and tastes great at room temperature.
I have an arsenal of grain salad recipes that I love, but there’s been a new one in the rotation these days that’s sparked an excessive amount of joy and therefore needed to be shared with all of you. So please join me in celebrating the wonders of Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
This hearty, highly textured salad is a smorgasbord of fresh, bright flavors, and I can’t get enough. I’ve always loved farro’s nutty chew, and it’s the ideal base for tender, caramelized cauliflower and sweet-tart sun-dried tomatoes. Toasted almonds add crunch, fresh parsley punches up the fresh factor, feta delivers some savory flair, and tangy red wine vinaigrette ties everything together. The end result is quite the nourishing taste treat, I promise.
You know I love me a sassy desk lunch with endless serving options, and this one is no exception. It makes about 3 lunch servings as is, but you can always throw in a handful of arugula for added greenery or some rotisserie chicken for extra protein. Play with grains (brown rice or barley would be great), nuts, and cheeses. Serve it warm or at room temp. Sometimes, I like to sub broccoi for cauliflower and mix up the herbs. You do you.
And while this salad originated as a #sassydesklunch, and I stand by its wonders as such, it’s really quite the show-stopping side and is perfect alongside almost any type of meat or fish. I actually served it to my roommate last night with some Idiotproof Chicken Breasts, and given how well it went over, it’s safe to say the recipe is Dude Diet approved.
Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Serves 4-6 as a side)
1 small head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets (roughly 4 heaping cups of florets)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked semi-pearled or pearled farro
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 teaspoon honey
½ packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in extra-virgin olive oil, patted dry and sliced into ribbons
1/3 cup toasted almonds
2 ounces feta cheese (preferably packed in brine), crumbled
-Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
-Place the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange the florets in an even layer, making sure to leave a little bit of space between each one. (Spacing is important! If you crowd the florets, they’ll steam instead of getting crispy and caramelized.)
-Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned.
-Meanwhile, cook the farro according to the package directions. Drain and briefly set aside.
*Now is the time to decide whether you want a warm salad or a room temperature salad. I personally like to let the cauliflower and farro cool to room temperature before combining, but you can definitely assemble the salad while warm if you prefer.
-In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the remaining 2½ tablespoons of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and honey until emulsified (aka well combined).
-Add the farro to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat.
-Next, add the cauliflower, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and almonds.
-Toss to combine, then gently fold in half of the feta. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper if needed. (If you like things tangy, you may also want to add more red wine vinegar.) Top with the remaining feta and serve.
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