Farro, Avocado, Cucumber, and Cherry Tomato Salad

This is one of our favorite summer meals. It's a tweaked recipe from Cooking Light. I love the addition of feta cheese on top, but if you leave it out, this is a great vegan dinner. I'm sure it would be good with some grilled chicken, too, if you really need some meat in there, but the avocado is surprisingly hearty, and it makes this a filling meal.

Farro, Avocado, Cucumber, and Cherry Tomato Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2008

Farro is a whole grain with a pleasantly chewy texture. Look for it at specialty markets and gourmet grocers or health food stores. With crunchy cucumber, sweet cherry tomatoes, and buttery avocado, this dish makes a refreshing lunch. Pair it with a simple starter soup and whole-grain crackers for dinner.

1 cup uncooked farro or spelt
4 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fresh grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups red, orange, and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ¾ cups chopped seeded English cucumber (about 1 small)
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¾ cup sliced peeled avocado (about 1 small)
feta cheese, for garnish (optional)

1. Place farro in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above farro. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Pick through the farro and throw out any really dark pieces (which tend to be hard as a rock and are not fun to bite into).

2. Combine oil, rind, juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add farro, tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro; toss gently to coat. Place about 1 cup farro mixture on each of 5 plates; garnish evenly with avocado and feta (if desired). Serve immediately.

Yield: 5 servings (more like 3 main course servings in my house)

Nutritional notes:
CALORIES 208(36% from fat); FAT 8.3g (sat 1.1g,mono 4.8g,poly 1g); IRON 2.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 16mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.4g; SODIUM 363mg; PROTEIN 5.6g; FIBER 6.1g

Big Flavors Rating: 5 Stars

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