This is a beautiful, warmly spiced grain salad, bursting with roasted fall vegetables and chewy farro. Dressed with lots of olive oil and a little lemon, it is rich and savory, feels perfectly seasonal, and is oh so satisfying. It's the kind of thing that works just as well as a packed lunch, a hearty vegetarian main, or a bed for a lovely piece of roast meat. —mrscorkhoarder
For the Vegetables:
head of cauliflower, cut into medium sized florets
sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
carrots, peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
red onion, peeled and cut into wide wedges
1 1/2 teaspoons
Aleppo chili flakes, or more to taste
olive oil, or as needed
For the Farro:
rendered pork, bacon, or pancetta fat, or olive oil (for vegetarian)
Toss all vegetables with garlic, spices, olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread out (try not to crowd) on one or two baking sheets. Roast until all vegetables are tender (cauliflower will probably be your driver), browned, and crispy around the edges, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes. Set aside when finished.
Meanwhile, render fat (or heat olive oil) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove and gobble up bacon or pancetta bits once fat has rendered, if using (or you can top final dish with them, if you prefer). Add onion, carrot, celery, and herbs (if using) with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start brown and release their juices, a few minutes.
Stir in farro, coating with oil. Add water to cover by 1/2 inch, season generously with salt and a little pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until farro is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard vegetables and herb sprig.
Transfer cooked (still warm) farro to a large bowl. Stir in roasted vegetables (still warm), with the zest of 1 lemon, juice of half a lemon (or more, to taste), a few glugs of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to distribute dressing and spices throughout. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve warm.