(Note: this post was originally published on May 27, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
An Ode to Lemon
Sometimes simple salads are the best salads since they really allow a single flavor to shine through. That's undoubtedly the case here! Hearty cauliflower and farro are the perfect vehicle for celebrating lemon in all its glory.
This salad is the companion recipe to my Caramelized Lemon Turmeric Sauce, which I posted a few days ago. Although that sauce (without a doubt my favorite creation of the entire spring!) is wonderful on just about anything, it particularly excels in this simple salad. The relatively mild flavors of the cauliflower and farro allow the lemon to be the star of the show.
Please refer back to the sauce post for detailed instructions, tips, and ideas. It's a bit non-traditional and involves caramelizing lemon peel, which is what makes it so delightfully surprising and unique. Make a double batch, use it for this salad, and then put it on every single grilled veggie and nourish bowl you make throughout the rest of the spring and summer!
After you've made the sauce, the rest of this is really simple. Just roast some cauli, boil some farro, toss it with the sauce, and add a few garnishes. That's it! Yet the combination is pure magic.
Make it Work for YOU
This salad is great because you have a lot of options with it, including the ability to make all of the components in advance. Flexible AND easy? Sign me up!
If you want to change up the flavors a bit, this would be great with a chiffonade of fresh basil across the top. You could add more protein (the farro already has some) by topping it with crispy roasted chick peas or grilled tofu. Any veggies that love lemon, like grilled asparagus or broccolini, would also be great additions. Just keep in mind that lemon is the dominant flavor, so try to stick with ingredients that go well with lemon.
This salad can be served hot, room temperature, or cold, which gives it a lot of versatility. It would work great warm for a light dinner any time of year, or keep it cold for a summer day. Make all the pieces in advance and serve it at a summer BBQ. It would even pack great for a picnic since all of these ingredients travel well.
To make this salad in advance, you can prep the sauce numerous days ahead and the cauliflower and farro as far as a day ahead. When you're ready to serve, just plate it and garnish it. Thanks to its make-ahead friendly nature, this salad is wonderful for meal prep or for entertaining. As long as you have everything ready to go, it will only take five minutes to bring this from fridge to table.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Cauliflower. I think this salad could work well with pretty much any roasted veggie that you like alongside lemon. Feel free to swap in asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc; just keep in mind that you'll need to adjust the cooking method and/or time accordingly.
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Farro. I absolutely adore farro; it has the most incredible texture AND it cooks quickly! Wheatberries would also be delightful here, but you'll need to adjust the cook time accordingly. Barley would be nice too. I wouldn't suggest using quinoa since it will clump together.
Sprouts. I've shown sunflower sprouts here, but any large sprouts would work fine.
Roasted salted almonds. Or swap in pine nuts, which also go nicely with lemon.
This is one of those salads that can be anything you ask of it. Is it a side dish? A main course? A picnic or potluck dish? Cold? Room temperature? Hot? I've already made this so many times this spring because it's just so darn versatile. Each time I make it, it's a little bit different.
Are you a lemon lover? I certainly hope so, because this salad is bursting with vibrant, tart lemon flavor. I can't wait for you to try this sauce, I really can't get enough of it!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Make my Caramelized Lemon Turmeric Sauce (hint: make a double-batch, I can guarantee you'll want it!). I suggest doing this ahead of time and keeping it on-hand in your fridge, and hence I haven't included it in the recipe prep time.
Cut the cauliflower into florets and toss them in a large mixing bowl with a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for 30-35 minutes or air-fry at 400 for 15 minutes until tender and lightly browned. The cook time will depend on the size of your florets, so keep an eye on them.
When the cauliflower is done, return the florets to the mixing bowl and toss them with a small amount of the Caramelized Lemon Turmeric Sauce while still warm. Use some restraint, since the sauce is very lemony! You can thin it out with a splash of water or additional olive oil if needed.
While the cauliflower roasts, bring a large saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Add the farro, and boil for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain the farro in a strainer. Then, like the cauliflower, return it to the pot and toss with a bit of the Caramelized Lemon Turmeric Sauce while it's still hot. Doing this right away will help the farro absorb all the flavors.
To serve the salad warm, go to the next step. Or, to serve the salad cold, transfer everything to a sealed container and put it in the fridge. This can be done several hours to a day in advance.
When you're ready to serve, mix the farro and cauliflower together and put it on a platter. Scatter a few handfuls of sunflower sprouts across the top. Finish it with a handful of roasted salted almonds and an additional drizzle of sauce.