Fun with Farro

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I’m starting to enjoy blank canvas foods like quinoa and farro and cous cous. (Autocorrect just tried to change that to “cous cows.”) The fun comes from dressing them up, like a Christmas tree or an Oscar nominee on Oscar night. The more ingredients you know to add to the mix, the more fun you can have. In all three cases, similar ingredients will work so what follows is a list of stuff you can stir into the mix to make things interesting and exciting and part of a wholesome weeknight dinner.

The first thing, though, is a dressing. If you make a simple one of Dijon mustard, honey, red wine or white wine vinegar and olive oil, that’ll work nicely, though in the salad you see above I made one by blending preserved lemon, garlic, and olive oil with a hand blender:

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Stir the dressing in while the farro, quinoa or cous cous is still warm so it gets absorbed easily. After that, you can add anything you want. Here are some ideas:

* Leftover chicken pieces
* Toasted nuts (slivered almonds, walnuts, chopped hazelnuts (skins removed), pine nuts)
* Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
* Chopped red onion or sliced shallots or chopped scallions or a combination of the three
* Chopped herbs like parsley, tarragon, mint, and basil (avoid woodier herbs like rosemary and thyme)
* Pickled vegetables (cauliflower, fennel, carrots) chopped into manageable pieces
* Thinly sliced radishes
* Sliced kumquats (like they do at Forage, as you can see in this picture)

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* Crumbly cheese (like Feta or a harder goat cheese or ricotta salata)
* Supremed segments of citrus like oranges, grapefruits or tangerines
* Canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed; other canned beans will work too
* Chopped preserved lemon rind
* Pitted olives
* Oil-packed tuna
* Capers
* Toasted garlic pieces (use the oil for your dressing)
* Sliced celery
* Raisins or dried currants or other dried fruits (like apricots, prunes, etc.)
* Roasted broccoli or cauliflower or both

Of course, not all of these flavors work together but most of them will. Did I leave anything out? What else do you like to add to your farro, quinoa or couscous?

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