Sweet and Spicy Chickpea Farro Salad

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It’s getting to be the time of year when Spring veggies are in season and salad creations start to come out. I love using different types grains in salads and side dishes. They can be used in so many different ways. There’s the obvious idea of changing the grain that you’re using and experimenting with quinoa, barley, wheat berries, and farro.

You can also play with flavors and the way you serve the dish. I’ll often use it as a side dish at dinner, warm the first night. Then I’ll change up the leftovers and eat it cold mixed in with traditional salad veggies like lettuce, cucumbers, and peppers. I’ll also put it in a wrap with grilled chicken to make a burrito-type lunch.

The sweet and spicy flavors is one of my favorite combinations. In this salad, you get the sweetness from the carrots and dates along with the spiciness of the harissa paste. If you haven’t tried harissa, you may be wondering what the heck it is. It’s an African hot sauce that you can find in red and green varieties. It’s kinda like the African version of Thai curry paste.

You can find it in a few stores in the international section. The amount of spice and kick it has varies so makes sure you taste test it first before dumping in the entire tablespoon in this recipe. You want spiciness to your taste. If you can’t find harissa, you can also sub in sriracha, Thai curry paste, or any red chili sauce you have available.

Sweet and Spicy Chickpea Farro Salad Sweet and Spicy Chickpea Farro Salad

  • 3/4 cup (129g) uncooked farro
  • 1/4 cup (25g) onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots (~228g)
  • 1/2 cup (~ 68g) dates, pitted
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp harissa paste (OR to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp (28g) sliced almonds

Cook the farro according to package directions and set aside. While the farro cooks, dice your onion and cut the carrots into slices approximately 2 inches long. Remove the pits from the dates and roughly chop them.

Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Add the onions and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions soften. Stir every occasionally so the onions don’t burn. Add the dates and 1/4 cup of water to the pan.

Scrape off any browned bits on the bottom of the pan to add flavor. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes until the carrots soften slightly. Add the chickpeas, harrisa paste to taste, lemon juice and cooked farro. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes until warm.

Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and almonds. Divide into bowls.

Makes 4 servings at approximately 301 calories each – 9g protein, 55g carbs, and 5g fat.

You can change up the salad and use a different grain if you prefer. Barley, freekeh, quinoa, or even brown rice are great options here. You can also use dried cranberries, apricots, or raisins in place of the dates. This dish is very easy to make differently each time so you don’t have to settle for boring or buy special ingredients to make it.

Salads don’t have to be a boring bowl of lettuce. Have fun with your salads. Eat them hot or cold, as a main dish or a side dish. They might not even seem like salads after all.

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