The sun has been shining lately and my cooking mind is shifting from warm, earthy stews to bright, crunchy salads! Though it’s still chilly out, I enjoy switching up my lunches from warm to cool depending on the weather, and thus my mood. Our bodies are so intelligent…ever think about why we crave warm foods in the winter and cooler foods in the summer? When the days get shorter and darker, we tend to hibernate, withdrawing into our homes and finding things to keep us grounded near the warm earth. We may find it hard to keep a routine, get to the gym, or do anything productive after the sun sets. Our bodies crave dense, easy to digest foods, and we’re drawn towards dishes heavy in spice and heat.
In contrast, the summer brings longer days and warmer weather. We feel energized by the daily sun exposure, and our bodies begin to crave cooler foods as the temperature rises. We feel productive long after the work day ends, and tend to be more active physically. Our metabolisms are revved up and we have the energy to digest raw veggies. We subconsciously move away from spice and heat to avoid turning our internal temperature too high. Take a look at your eating habits from season to season…do they fluctuate? Simply turning in and becoming aware of what your body craves from day-to-day is a wonderful exercise in mindfulness. Our bodies will often tell us what we need, when we need it. All we have to do is pay attention :o)
Today is a beautiful, warm (37 degrees) February day. I went to the grocery store early after my morning yoga class and filled a large shopping bag with produce. With no real recipe in mind, I just grabbed whatever called to me. A yellow and an orange bell pepper, organic sugar snap peas, and chickpeas all looked good. Recalling my stockpile of grains at home, I knew these would go nicely with some Farro in a room temperature salad. My go-to dressing for room temperature salads is a lemon-dill vinaigrette, the ingredients for which I nearly always have on hand. Proud of my selections I headed home to prepare lunches for the week! Below is a variation on my Chick Pea & Cucumber Salad, a crunchy, fresh, and filling salad that packs well as a work lunch, and can be dressed ahead of time without getting soggy. This salad is pretty and colorful, so it makes a wonderful dish for a potluck or picnic!
Chickpea & Veggie Salad with Farro
Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 if using as a meal, 6-8 if using as a side dish
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb sugar snap peas, diced
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 1 cup quick cook Farro
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dry dill
- 2 tsp local sustainable honey, agave, or raw cane sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook Farro according to package instructions (I use quick cook which takes 10-15 minutes)
- Rinse and dice peppers and snap peas
- Drain and rinse chickpeas
- Add veggies, chickpeas, and cooked Farro to a large mixing bowl
- In a smaller bowl, add lemon juice and zest, olive oil, dill, salt, pepper, and honey.
- Mix everything together in bowl
- Keep at room temperature and serve within 3 hours, or pack into lunch containers. Keeps well in fridge for 5 days.