Roasted Carrot and Farro Salad

IMG_20191009_121848637 (3)I was flipping through cookbooks for inspiration this week and landed on a recipe in my perennial favorite cookbook, Dinner, for a farro salad with crispy leeks and chickpeas. It sounded delicious, but also made me think of Smitten Kitchen’s Honey and Harissa Farro Salad. For my ultimate fall salad I decided to combine the two for a hearty, one bowl meal that has sweet carrots, robust harissa, salty feta, tangy lemon, and crispy leeks, united with the heft of chewy farro and chickpeas. It can easily be made vegan by omitting the feta and swapping maple syrup for the honey, and is excellent at room temp for lunch on the go.

My full share this week was cucumbers, tomatoes, yokatta-na, leeks, carrots, onions, potatoes, lettuce, basil, and parsley. The cucumbers went into sushi bowls (I just make a quick pan roasted salmon with soy sauce instead of the packets). The yokatta-na is going into a quick noodle dish with tofu and soy sauce. Any mix of roasted an raw vegetables are great toppings for tofu bowls. My absolute favorite leek and potato soup is a great fall meal if all this rain doesn’t have you in the mood for salad. If you’re looking for a grain-free option for dinner, these root vegetable bowls are filling and so bright tasting you’ll forget the days are getting shorter.

Roasted Carrot and Farro Salad

Adapted from Dinner and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Serves 4 as a main, or 8 as a side.

  • 3 small leeks (about 6 ounces/1 1/2 cups sliced)
  • 1/2 lb carrots (3-4 depending on the size)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 15.5 ounce can)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons harissa
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 ounces full-fat feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced dill

Preheat oven to 425F. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and then into 1/4″ slices, then wash and dry. Quarter carrots lengthwise and chop into 1/2″ pieces. On separate sheet pants, toss the carrots and leeks each with 1 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt (the last 1/4 teaspoon salt will go in the dressing). Spread the carrots out on the sheet pan, while keeping the leeks close together in the middle of the pan so they brown but don’t burn. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring the pans halfway through. The leeks should get charred, but not completely burned. If the leeks are starting to burn clump them closer together.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Put in the farro, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-35 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl whisk the harissa, honey, extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the drained farro, chickpeas, feta, leeks, carrots, feta, dill, and parsley. Stir to combine, taste, and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.

Three Quick Pickles (Jalapeño, Carrot, Onion)

IMG_6452For this week’s Potter Hill CSA recipe I’m focusing on one of my favorite ways to brighten up a dish: pickles. I’ve never met a pickle I don’t like. While I am perfectly happy to eat them straight out of a jar, their tang, spice, and crunch can so often turn a bland dish into something exceptional. This is also a ridiculously easy way to use a vegetable you may not have an immediate plan for.

Anything can be pickled, so there is no need to limit yourself to just cukes. Pickling also doesn’t have to be an elaborate process with numerous jars and hot water baths. It can be as simple as chopping up a little extra veg while you’re making dinner, filling a single jar, and topping it with a quick brine of vinegar and salt. Thinly sliced pickles will take on the flavor of the brine in as little time as half an hour, and the flavor will continue to intensify with time.

I made my pickles with jalapeños, carrots, and onions. While I stuck to a single vegetable for each pickle, you could certainly mix and match (just cut them into uniform sizes/shapes). Feel free to sub different vinegars and/or spices, or add a touch of sweetness. I specify kosher salt in all the recipes. If you’re using table salt, I would cut the amount in half and then add more to taste.

The uses for these are endless. They can top tacos and burrito bowls, add crunch to sandwiches (breakfast or otherwise), elevate a cheese plate or grilled cheese, or provide contrast in a salad (green, potato, egg, tuna, or whatever). The fun doesn’t end with the pickles though! The brine is also a great ingredient for salad dressings and sauces (like the green sauce in the burrito bowls linked above).

My entire CSA share this week was purple potatoes, onions, rainbow carrots, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, thyme, eggplant, celeriac, chard, spicy lettuce mix, jalapeños, and a leek. I used onions, carrots, potatoes, and chard in lentil rice bowls with muhamarra from Bowl + Spoon. Potatoes, tomatoes, and more onions went into a lackluster gratin paired with a spicy salad (the fault of the recipe not the vegetables – I should have just made this again). Eggplant topped my favorite pizza (crispy capers! garlic oil!!). I paired my pickles with these super flavorful Vietnamese-style chicken meatballs, which I’ve made before and according to my husband are “dope” (I concur).

Quick Pickled Jalapeños

Makes 1 1/2-pint

  • 1 cup thinly sliced jalapeños (I used 4)
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine vinegar and salt and stir to combine. Let sit until the salt dissolves, or heat gently on the stove top or in 30 seconds bursts in the microwave. Add jalapeños to the jar, and pour brine over. Pickled jalapeños will last for a couple months in the fridge, but will soften over time.

Quick Pickled Carrots

Makes 1 pint

You may notice in the photo I used pickling spice, but I only call for mustard seeds below. I love the flavor of pickling spice, but I learned with such a small pickle it is annoying to have to fish out the cloves and allspice berries.  You could use a different spice in mustard seed’s place such as coriander or celery seed. I used a mandoline to julienne my carrots, but you could slice them into coins instead (there will just be less surface area to be pickled).

  • 2 cups julienned carrots (I used 5 smaller carrots, about 3/4 lb)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, or add more!)

Combine vinegar, salt, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a small pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then pour over carrots in their jar. Let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

Quick Pickled Onions

Makes 1 pint

A few years ago I got a book from the library on Mexican food that included this genius recipe for pickling onions with just citrus juice. I, of course, did not write down the book title, but this recipe will stick with me forever. I wrote out specific quantities here, but usually I just chop up the onion and squeeze enough citrus juice to submerge it entirely. Will once suggested we use the leftover pickling liquid for a cocktail, which we haven’t done yet…but we will.

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onion (from 1 onion, about 1/2 lb)
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed citrus juice (I used 1 orange and 6 limes)

Pour citrus juice over onions. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.