This Hearty Salad Is the Perfect Transition Meal Between Winter and Spring
Now that March is here, spring is only a few weeks away—and for FW Cooks' Ann Taylor Pittman, that means swapping heavier winter food with something light and fresh. So she turns to her “Restoration Salad,” a combination of whole-grain farro, oranges, raisins, brussels sprouts, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese, served with a zesty (literally) white balsamic dressing. It’s hearty enough to stand up to any remaining chilly weather, but is still refreshing too, thanks to bright flavor from the oranges. The best part? You can easily make it ahead.
Check out key tips for preparing the dish below, compiled from Pittman’s recipe and our test kitchen.
Stick with whole-grain farro
You might be tempted to use pearled farro here, since it cooks quicker than whole-grain farro; however, the latter is more nutritious and is also much harder to overcook, so you won’t end up with a sad, mushy texture.
Get maximum flavor without a mess
When you’re ready to cook the farro, simply take half of a yellow onion and poke cloves into the cut side. Then, combine it in a large saucepan with water, the farro, and a bay leaf. Once the farro’s done cooking, you don’t have to worry about fishing out the cloves—simply discard the onion half along with the bay leaf.
Make the most of your oranges
Pittman uses orange zest, juice, and segments in this recipe—even the leftover membranes, too, to extract more juice. It's a good exercise for thinking about how you can reduce food waste when you work with ingredients.
Use the microwave to rehydrate your raisins
Instead of letting the raisins soak overnight, you can rehydrate them with orange juice in the microwave in just one minute. This adds flavor and plumps them up nicely.
No whisk necessary
In the final step of Pittman’s recipe, all you need to mix the salad dressing is a small jar. Simply put in all the ingredients and shake until emulsified. (Just make sure it’s sealed first, of course.)
You don’t have to use blue cheese
Blue cheese adds a nice pungent flavor to this salad. If you’re not a fan, don’t worry—you can easily substitute in your preferred cheese. Our associate food editor Kelsey Youngman says Parmesan would work nicely.
Feel free to meal prep it
The great thing about this salad is that you don’t have to worry about anything getting mushy or wilting, so it will stay good for several days. The only thing Pittman recommends storing separately is the walnuts, in order to retain maximum crunch.
Get the Recipe: Restoration Salad with Farro, Orange, and Blue Cheese