Beef stews, roast chickens, tuna casseroles — it’s all good in moderation, but it can get to be too much. I’m not saying to swear it off; I’m saying to lighten up one night this week.
Sometimes just eating clean and light food can be the jump-start we need to get out of the slump of what feels like an otherwise endless winter (and an edible preview of spring ingredients to come). Don’t worry, we’re not going all caprese salad and sliced watermelon just yet. We’re just easing into things with healthy whole grains and legumes, boosted with flavors like tahini, soy and lemon, which are bright and fulfilling.
This meal is great served warm or at room temperature, and the leftovers are a sure-fire detour from an afternoon desk-side food coma.
Farro + Red Lentils with Tahini-Soy Dressing
Total time: 40 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup farro, rinsed
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup red lentils
For the tahini-soy vinaigrette:
1/2 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus additional wedges for serving
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
Salt and ground black pepper
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cashews, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Place a pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Cook the bell pepper and onion until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the farro and stock or water to the pot, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the red lentils to the pot and continue simmering until the farro and lentils are tender, about 5 minutes more. Drain off any remaining liquid.
While the farro is cooking, make the vinaigrette. Rub the inside of a mixing bowl with the cut side of the garlic clove. Add the tahini, soy sauce, mustard and lemon juice to the bowl, then whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in the olive oil and water. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Add the warm farro and lentils to the vinaigrette, and toss with the beans, cashews and cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature with additional wedges of lemon.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.