Here’s a hearty salad that can be its own meal or serve as a side dish. It is a simplified version of a recipe from April Bloomfield’s cookbook ‘A Girl and Her Greens. ’
The first time I made this, I steamed the cauliflower. I used to think that my least favorite part of cauliflower was what a horrible mess it made in my kitchen when I cut it. Turns out that I hate it steamed. While I was trying to figure out how a combination of things I like a lot on their own (cauliflower! farro! pistachios! pomegranate arils!) could make for such a disappointing dinner, my husband offered the following encouraging words: “It was as good as any other weird dish you’ve made.” It was the cauliflower’s fault.
The lesson here is, if you think you hate cauliflower, have you tried it roasted? There may be hope for you yet! It took a while to figure out how to roast cauliflower without overroasting it and therefore ruining a perfectly promising dish. The trick for me was getting the edges to brown while maintaining a teeny tiny bit of its natural crunchiness.
The dish reheats well so it makes for a great easy lunch or brunch companion. I usually reheat it by stir-frying it in a pan with a little bit of fat (olive oil or butter) and I love that the farro gets its shape and some more of its chewiness back. Some things to keep in mind for reheating: the pistachios will no longer be crunchy and the pomegranate arils will fade in color if you overcook them. If these are potential disappointments for you, withhold the pistachios and pomegranate arils when combining the salad, sprinkle them individually on each portion, and store any leftovers separately.
The recipe instructions assume you don’t have already have cooked farro on hand, but I think that actually this recipe would be even better if you fried the cooked farro before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. I have not tried this yet so I didn’t write it in to the instructions but if you make this, I hope you’ll try frying the cooked farro and let me know how it turned out!
Low-sodium roasted cauliflower and farro salad with pistachios and pomegranate
Adapted from April Bloomfield’s ‘A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden ’
Yield: 3 meals or 6 side dishes
- 1 cup farro (170 g)
- 2 cups and 3 tablespoons water (472 mL and 45 mL)
- 1 head medium cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (mine weighed 30 oz/848 g and then 13 oz/373 g once cut into florets)
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 mL)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin or coriander (5 mL)
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (optional, 0.65 to 1.25 mL)
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped (59 mL)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (59 mL)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 mL)
- 3 to 6 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (15 mL-30 mL)
- 2 tablespoons parsley (30 mL)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- To cook the farro, rinse it then combine it with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, about 25-27 minutes. You might need to add extra water to keep the farro from drying or sticking to the bottom; I needed an extra 3 tablespoons of water. Once the farro is cooked, set aside.
- In the meanwhile, in a rimmed cookie sheet, combine the cauliflower and garlic with the olive oil and season with cumin or coriander, freshly ground pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using.
- Transfer the pan to the oven, cook until the cauliflower is very lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir then cook until the cauliflower is lightly browned and tender, about 7 minutes.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the warm farro, cauliflower, pistachios, and pomegranate arils. Stir in the olive oil, 3 teaspoons of the lemon juice, and the parsley. Taste and stir in additional lemon juice, if needed.
- Serve warm.
Sources of sodium
Approximate sodium intake per lunch serving: 37 mg
- All from the cauliflower, which has 30 mg per 100 g
Approximate sodium intake per side dish serving: 19 mg
- These values are calculated from the nutritional labels of the ingredients I used
Increase the sodium
Season the cauliflower with a sprinkle of salt before roasting it and use salted pistachios.
Replace the farro with 2 cups of cooked freekeh, pearled barley, rye berries, brown rice or a combination of grains.
Nonstick rimmed cookie sheets
I use this cookie pan set. The sheets are made of heavy gauge carbon steel and they’re really non-stick, easy to clean, thick and sturdy. They will continue to look new for a long time if you’re good to them.
Did you make this?
- If you recreate this recipe, I’d love to know! Leave a comment here and tag @alickofsalt on social media.