Historically, salads haven’t had much of a place in my kitchen in the winter months. As soon as the fall coats and scarves emerge, the crock pot makes its debut and I’m all about soups, stews, and warm dishes. My spinach-farro salad has become the only exception to the rule – the hearty farro, sweet berries, and dried cranberries seem more winter-appropriate than the traditional raw veggie salad, and I’m just in love with all the different variations one could create with this recipe!
We often make a big batch of this on Sundays and package it up for lunches. It’s insanely easy to make, keeps for 1 week, and can be modified for a variety of tastes and dietary restrictions (i.e. gluten free).
Farro is a hearty, fiber-packed grain with a lovely chewy, nutty flavor. I prefer the quick-farro from Trader Joe’s, as it cooks up in less than 20 minutes (whereas regular farro will take ~45 minutes). Spinach, berries, and pomegranate seeds offer a variety of vitamins and antioxidants, while walnuts provide Omega-3 fatty acids. The balsamic vinegar dressing promotes release of nitric oxide in the blood, relaxing our blood vessels and promoting healthy blood pressure and endothelial function. Click here to watch a short video on how vinegar improves artery function.
Spinach & Farro Salad with Berries
Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup quick-cook farro
- 10 oz fresh blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries
- 6 oz pomegranate seeds
- 1 handful chopped, raw walnuts
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 10-15 oz spinach (I typically use 1-1/2 10z bags organic baby spinach)
- Good quality balsamic vinegar (I emphasize quality because the flavor is rich, sweet, and very palatable on its own, no oil or sugar necessary!)
- Cook 1 cup dry farro according to package instructions
- While farro is cooking, rinse berries and chop walnuts
- If making prepared lunches, set out 5-6 food containers and fill with a small handful of spinach
- Once farro is cooked, cool for 10 minutes in the fridge or freezer
- To the farro, add pomegranate seeds walnuts, and dried cranberries
- Spoon the farro mixture over spinach and top with berries (topping with berries last prevents maceration and bleeding of berry juice onto the farro)
- Serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Enjoy right away, or pack up for weekday lunches with a small mason jar of balsamic vinegar