Have you heard of the grain bowl trend? Apparently, it’s a thing. I am never one for food trends. Meaning, I am never cool enough to be on trend. I love the trends, but I’m always a little bit late to the party. But not this time!
Grain bowls are all the rage at the moment, and I’m sharing one with you today! Hooray for me!
This grain bowl consists mainly of farro (one of my fav grains!) and tons of roasted winter fruit. I top if off with juicy, beautiful clementines for a pop of color and freshness (can you tell I’m trying to get my fill before they’re out of season?) and a sprinkling of salty feta cheese. It’s a meat-free grain bowl that packs a punch in both the flavor and nutrition arenas. Gotta love that. Good, healthy food CAN taste delicious, people. It really can.
Farro, if you aren’t familiar, is an ancient Italian grain that is very similar to barley. I actually like it a little better than barley because the flavor is a tad nuttier. It’s heartier than barley, too. And it’s perfect for cold or warm salads. I’ve even subbed it for Arborio rice when making a slightly healthier version of risotto. It is delicious and oh so good for you. Which we can all use when we’re in hibernation mode. Which is basically “give me all the cheese and carbs” mode in my world. Farro is here to balance things out a bit.
This grain bowl is quick to throw together. It really just involves chopping and roasting some ripe pears and apples and cooking a pot of farro. It’s NOT complicated. Which makes it perfect for a quick weeknight meal or even lunch. This packs up fabulously for a to-go meal and actually tastes BETTER once it’s been hanging out in the fridge for a bit.
It’s got a lot of great flavors going on. Spiced, sweet, and caramelized fruit, salty cheese, nutty grains, and some pickly tang from the mustard vinaigrette. It’s got a little bit of everything.
OH! But! You can totally customize this. Throw in some roast chicken or some greens or even some different fruit. Oh! Roasted veggies, like squash or brussels, would also be fabulous here. Whatever floats your boat. That’s the great thing about the grain bowl thing…you can totally make them your own. I like to use them as an excuse to sort of clean out my fridge. If I have a bunch of chicken left over or some greens that are headed south in the crisper drawer, I’ll throw it in a bowl with some brown rice or farro and dress it up with some other leftovers.
Because if there’s one thing I HATE, it’s wasting food. Grain bowls are definitely a great solution.
Plus, they’re delicious, filling, and healthy! Another win-win-win.
Oh, and gorgeous to boot. WIN!
2 large pears, chopped
1 large apple, chopped
2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)
1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked farro (or brown rice), cooled
The roasted fruit
3 clementines, peeled and segmented
½ cup toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped fruit out in an even layer on the baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with the spices, sugar, and salt. Toss with your hands to evenly coat everything.
Roast for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until caramelized and tender.
Allow to cool slightly before assembling the salads.
Whisk all the ingredients together (or blend in a blender). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed.
Toss the dressing and farro together while the farro is still warm. Top with the roasted fruit, clementines, nuts, dried cranberries, and cheese. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It should keep for a few days and actually tastes best the next day.