When I talk to friends (and let’s be honest, acquaintances and strangers) about home cooking, the most common complaint I hear is that it is too time consuming. People get off work already hungry. Unsure of what’s for dinner, they head to the grocery store. They try to rustle up a meal plan in the produce aisle. The lines are long. Once home, they cook, but the recipe is time consuming and creates many dirty dishes, which then need to be washed. Ultimately, they spend more time stressing than they do enjoying cooking and eating.
On the weeknight grocery store trek, I can only suggest planning and shopping for the week on the weekend, which results in coming home to ingredients and a menu and a glass of wine.
But on cooking-and-dishes front, allow me to suggest this recipe. It is weeknight-friendly in every way. It only requires you to dirty a roasting pan, a pot, and a cutting board. The veg can roast while you prep everything else (or walk your dog, unpack your lunch box, or do other chores). It is far heartier than a lettuce-based salad. The leftovers are just as good for lunch or dinner the next day. There are no off-the-wall ingredients. And with a glass of wine and some cheese or chocolate for dessert, it is truly a whole meal.
More time eating and enjoying than prepping and washing dishes. Now who can’t buy into that on a Tuesday night?
Farro salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate (serves 6 main courses or more as a side to roasted meat or chicken)
Adapted for size from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen
1.5 cups farro or wheat berries*
1 bay leaf
3 pounds root vegetables (any combination of carrots, parsnips, beets, rutabagas, turnips, and butternut squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups radicchio
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Seeds from 1 large or 2 small pomegranates
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey, or 4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup olive oil
*I used barley, which was still good—but farro would be way better. It is available in a quick-cooking version at Trader Joe’s.
Place the grains in a saucepan with plenty of water. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until cooked (45 minutes for wheat berries, 10 minutes for quick-cook TJ’s farro). Drain and pluck out bay leaf. Transfer to big bowl.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Peel the vegetables and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Place on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes, turning a few times if you can be bothered. Spread the chopped radicchio over the top of the pans and roast for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the radicchio is wilted. Remove from oven. Place in same big bowl as grains.
While the vegetables are roasting, making the dressing. Mix together all of the ingredients except the olive oil. Then whisk in the olive oil. (I do this in a mason jar to make for easy leftover storage.)
Add the parley, pomegranate seeds, and a few grinds of pepper to the bowl of grains and roasted vegetables. Take out what you are going to serve and dress as you see fit. Squeeze extra lemon juice over the top if you desire.
I like this salad at room temperature. It can be made ahead and store in the fridge for 4 or so days; add a few drops of lemon juice to liven it up before serving. I’ve also enjoyed it with a bit of gorgonzola dolce or aged parmesan on top!