One of my biggest food pet peeves is the mislabeling of sweet potatoes in pretty much every grocery store and recipe. Fact: those orange fleshed taters are not yams. Neither are the pale yellow/white ones. Yams are actually a completely different species and have a gray bark-like skin. Check it out here. Not only do they look different, but sweet potatoes have more protein, fiber and vitamin A than yams. Maybe this isn’t news to some of you, or maybe you just don’t care as much as me, but I thought you should know. 🙂 This recipe calls for sweet potatoes (the orange/brown ones) which I have missed so much this summer. Warning: sweet potato recipes on this site may grow exponentially between now and February.
I also wanted to experiment a bit with using a grain other than quinoa, and farro won. My sister cooks with farro pretty often and I always love those recipes of hers, so I decided to give it a go too. Similar to brown rice, farro has a nutty flavor and gives this salad a nice little crunch. Unlike rice or quinoa, farro retains the slight chewiness even if overcooked! I hadn’t realized how many types of farro there are either: pearl, semi-pearl, whole-grain…and I learned that whole-grain has the most nutrients (ha big surprise), but pearl is the fastest to cook. It’s up to you which you use in this recipe- they all taste good to me and they are all healthy, low-gluten options.
This salad is best prepped ahead of time to allow the roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and farro to cool in the refrigerator before assembling. Like most of my salads, I like to individually plate each one (presentation is half the fun!). That being said, I have also packed this salad in tupperware (dressing separate until lunchtime) and it’s been an excellent to-go meal. Feel free to experiment with different roasted vegetables, depending on what’s in season. Also for a little more protein and crunch, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds are a nice addition to sprinkle on top. Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 8 cups mixed greens (with arugula is best)
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 4 small red beets, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup dry farro
- 1/2 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds (optional)
- 4 tbsp olive oil (separated – see directions)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place sweet potatoes and beets on baking sheet (separate sides so the beets don’t stain the potatoes), drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and a little salt and pepper over veges, and roast for 25-30 minutes or until softened and lightly crisped.
- Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup farro, 1 1/4 cup water, and a dash of salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Then turn down temperature and cover, letting simmer until water is absorbed and farro is soft but still has a slight crunch (cooking time depends on whether it’s whole-grain or pearled farro).
- Let potatoes, beets, and farro cool (ideally in refrigerator so all ingredients are cold).
- Combine 3 tbsp olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl or jar and mix well.
- Toss the mixed greens with half the dressing and divide onto 4 plates.
- Arrange the rest of the ingredients on each plate, and drizzle the remaining dressing over the top of each salad.
- Optional: add a handful of pepitas or sunflower seeds on top. Serve!