During the past Mother’s Day weekend, the intense Sun dazzled away the clouds, and the temperature went up to the mid 80’s in many parts of California. When it gets hot here, I can’t think of any better meal than a refreshing salad for lunch. Fresh vegetables and cold cut meats mixed with a delicious dressing is so perfect for the hot weather. Unfortunately, whenever I have a salad for lunch, I, however, get a craving for a “pick-me-up” snack in the late afternoon. Sometimes I wonder if a salad can be a truly filling meal that can help keep me going without feeling hungry until dinner. With that thought, I am making a deliciously satisfying salad using “protein and fiber packed” chickpeas and farro, a grain that is also a very rich in protein, fiber and vitamins along with a refreshing lavender citrus vinaigrette in my California kitchen.
To start, soak 1 cup of dry chickpeas in water overnight and then microwave for about 20 minutes next day. When chickpeas turn soft, rinse them in cold water and drain water out. Separately, boil 4 cups water in a pot and add 1 ½ cups farro and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes with cover until farro turns tender. Drain any residual water and let it cool. In a bowl, mix ½ cup 7th taste lavender olive oil, juice from a half orange, juice from 1 lemon, 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove (crushed), 1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves (chopped), a bunch fresh Italian parsley leaves (chopped), 2 shallots (finely chopped), some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Lastly, toss farro, chickpeas, 4 tomatoes (chopped) and a red bell pepper (chopped) to a big bowl and coat them with the lavender citrus vinaigrette.
What a refreshing and satisfying meal this salad is! The Sweet nutty taste of chickpeas and farro blends so beautifully with the refreshing lavender citrus vinaigrette. It is loaded with complex undertones of herbs, gentle acid and buttery olive oil with just a touch of a lavender floral taste. Each bite of the “pasta-like” texture of farro, crunchy red bell pepper, and grainy chickpeas also makes this salad very intense and interesting. It is not only absolutely delicious to eat but also fills your stomach for many hours without weighing you down, thanks to its high protein and fiber content. Enjoy this sumptuous salad in the balmy Summer weather. Happy cooking!