This is a beautifully autumnal dish, although I admit to making it year-round. Farro is such a delicious grain, and when paired with roasted golden beets, tangy feta, pecans glazed with maple, and cayenne and then dressed with a fresh herb dressing of chive-sage oil and lemon, it makes for a healthy side that bursts with flavor and seasonal freshness. It adds a visual wow to your table too! —em-i-lis
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Em-i-lis is a stay-at-home mom and avid cook living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.
WHAT: A farro and beet side that 's just as refreshing as it is hearty
HOW: While the beets are roasting in the oven, cook the farro. Meanwhile, cook the chives and sage in a saucepan with olive oil and lemon juice and, in another pan, coat the pecans in warm maple syrup. Toss the cooked farro and chopped beets together with the pecans and some crumbled feta pecans, then pour the warm herbed olive oil dressing over the mix.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This warm autumn salad -- hold the lettuce -- is exactly the kind of thing we want to be eating while the temperature outside continues to drop. The herbed dressing paired with the farro and beets make it both filling and comforting, enough so that I enjoyed it as my main dish for dinner. If you can't find yellow beets, red beets work fine, though you'd be missing out on the bright addition this golden mix brings to your dinner table. —The Editors
4 to 6
1 3/4 cups
extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt, divided
plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
chopped fresh sage
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
(small) cayenne pepper
Piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray
crumbled feta (preferably a good-quality tangy and creamy one in water so it's not too dry)
Preheat the oven to 385° F. Wash and trim (but don’t peel) the beets, and wrap them individually in foil or place them snugly in a small baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Cook 35 to 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool until you can peel them. Peel and chop into 1/2-inch cubes, then set aside.
In the meantime, pour the broth into a 2-quart saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. When it’s boiling, pour in the farro, reduce the heat so that you can maintain a nice simmer, and cook until just on the tender side of al dente, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain and reserve.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan until very warm. Remove from heat and add the chopped chives and sage as well as 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, the lemon juice, and at least 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk together and then let rest until you need it.
In a small skillet set over medium heat, add the pecans. When the skillet is warm, pour in the maple syrup and the dash of cayenne. Stir continuously until the pecans are evenly coated and the syrup is bubbling nicely. Pour onto the sprayed sheet of foil and let cool.
In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked farro, chopped beets, crumbled feta, and pecans. Whisk the herbed oil dressing again and pour it over the farro salad. Stir gently until well combined and add salt to taste.