Monday, December 30, 2013

Farro with Sweet Potato and Black Garlic


As the holiday break neared, Anna and I commiserated (with good humor) about how busy we were. "Eh, it's going to be a Trader Joe's week, right?"

I knew exactly what she was talking about. I had already planned for a Trader Joe's week to make the busy season a little easier. My menu plan was based on whatever good stuff TJ's had to make meal time as easy as possible.

Here's one of the dishes I made, perfect for the post-holiday detox. This grain salad makes up for the stale holiday cookies we're all still nibbling. Delicious warm or cold, it's on the sweet side — a nice bridge as I retrain my taste buds to be happy with less sugary fare. It's filling and full of good-for-you ingredients. The photograph doesn't do it justice. I'm not sure it's possible to take a good photo of farro.

Everything in it can be found at Trader Joe's: fast-cooking farro, sweet potato, pomegranate vinegar, and — my favorite! — black garlic.


If you're unfamiliar with it, black garlic is simply fermented garlic. It's savory-sweet, garlicky without the bite. TJ's just recently started carrying black garlic, but it isn't always easy to find. I didn't see it the last time I was there and was worried they had already dropped it. The manager admitted "it's been sort of a dog for us," but they do still stock it. You can find it in specialty stores and online (including Amazon).

131217_CPE_farro salad_2

If you can't find it, no problem. Just sub some regular garlic. And if you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, of course you can find these ingredients elsewhere.

Farro with Sweet Potatoes and Black Garlic

If you can't find black garlic, you can leave it out or substitute a clove or two of minced garlic, sautéed in a bit of oil. A bit of cooked sausage also would be a tasty replacement. Farro is one of my favorite grains, but if it's out of your comfort zone swap brown rice.

1 package Trader Joe's 10-Minute Farro (or 1 1/2 cups raw farro)
1 sweet potato, diced
1/2 head of black garlic, chopped
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
olive oil

4 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate vinegar (or other fruity vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Cook farro according to package directions (if you're using raw farro, cook it however you do that — I've only used TJ's!). Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl.

Warm a spoonful of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced sweet potato and cook until soft and slightly browned.

Combine farro, sweet potato, garlic, walnuts, and dressing in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If salad is too dry for your taste, add a splash of olive oil and stir.

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