I’ve still got one foot in winter (ugh), and one foot in springtime. …but spring is right around the corner – I just know it. Before she arrives, how about we capitalize on one of winter’s treasures and jump on some beautiful citrus? As a nod to spring, we’ll roast some radishes, leeks, and a couple of baby carrots. Because spring makes us want to get all healthy and wholesome, we are also asking our friends farro and forbidden rice to join in the fun. And in the spirit of celebrating the mingling of all seasons, let’s make a winter greens pesto with plenty of citrus juice and zest to toss the whole thing together.
I’d be fibbing if I told you this can be made in five minutes – it requires a bit of commitment to cooking grains, chopping and roasting vegetables, and getting the pesto blended. I need you to trust me on this – every minute is worth it. Let’s get organized and start putting this guy together. First, you’ll want to start cooking your grains, and yes – they must be cooked separately. (Check the recipe below for more details on exactly what forbidden rice and farro are all about). If you aren’t in to all that, just choose one or the other and go from there. While your grains are cooking and cooling, let’s get to roasting the leeks and radishes. For some crunch, I added some slivered stems from red chard, and for color and a nice bright taste, slivered some dried apricots. Everything gets tossed together…
While grains are cooking and all that roasting is going on, you can make pesto. This pesto is easy as can be, and all that it requires is a food processor or blender. It’s made with carrot tops (really – I’m not kidding!!), kale and Italian parsley. Throw in some pumpkin seeds, lemon and orange juice and zest, and good olive oil and you are home free.
Everything gets tossed together and you are almost there! It’s fun to serve on a bed of slivered kale or red chard that you have lightly dressed with your favorite vinaigrette, just for the heck of it but you don’t have to. We love to scatter beautiful green pistachio halves over the top, then add more dried apricots. Since we used those carrot tops in the pesto, we went ahead and roasted the little carrots also, so threw them on as well.
I really really really hope you try this one. And also that you love it. Whole grain haters have swooned over it, and begged for leftovers….and in my book that’s a nice thing to hear. Happy almost spring!!! xoxxo
- FARRO & FORBIDDEN RICE MIXTURE
- 1 ½ cups Farro (lightly scratched, such as Bob’s Red Mill variety)
- 1 ½ cups Forbidden Rice
- 2-3 large bunches of Radishes
- 2-3 large Leeks
- ½ cup slivered Dried Apricots
- ½ cup roughly chopped Pistachio Nuts
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus extra for drizzling
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 2 cups Lacinato Kale, roughly chopped
- ½ cup fresh Italian Parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ cups carrot tops, roughly chopped, beet greens, roughly chopped and/or radish tops, roughly chopped
- ½ cup Pumpkin Seeds
- Zest and juice from 2 lemons or 2 oranges, or a combination of both
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- FARRO & FORBIDDEN RICE MIXTURE
- To cook Farro: Pour into in a pot of boiling salted water, bring water back to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, place in large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and set aside until it reaches room temperature.
- To cook Forbidden Rice: Heat 2 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add Rice, 1 tsp. salt and a drizzle of olive oil, return to low boil and cook until tender and water has been absorbed – about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.
- Heat oven to 375. Wash and trim radishes. Cut in half. Place on a cookie sheet and toss with salt and olive oil. Roast until tender and beginning to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes.
- Wash leeks and cut into ¼ inch rounds. Place on a cookie sheet and toss with salt and olive oil. Roast until tender and beginning to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes.
- To serve: In a large bowl, toss together the Farro, Forbidden Rice, Roasted Radishes and Leeks, and Slivered Apricots. Stir in Winter Greens Pesto and top with Chopped Pistachios. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- In a food processor, place Greens and Herbs, Garlic, Chives, Oregano, Pumpkin Seeds, Lemon and/or Orange Juice & Zest and Salt & Pepper. Begin processing, and slowly pour in Olive Oil until mixture is well blended and smooth.