Farro and Spiced Honey Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Chestnuts
Farro, nutmeg, apples, and chestnuts. If you were given these four ingredients to work with, what would you make?!
Well that’s what was asked of me in McCormick Gourmet’s Go 4 Gourmet challenge. And I’ve had Thanksgiving dinner on the brain, so I knew right away that there was a wonderful fall salad in our future, perfect for the Thanksgiving table. Say “hello” to our new friend, Farro and Spiced Honey Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Chestnuts.
This really was a challenge for me, as I’ve never cooked with either farro (pronounced “FAHR-oh”) or chestnuts. Challenges such as this can be blessings in disguise, pushing us out of our own regular thought processes, and introducing us to new ingredients that might just find a permanent place in our pantries.
What drove this salad’s flavors, besides the four required ingredients, was my desire to create a salad that counteracted all the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy. Something that was sweet and bright and lovingly spiced with fall warmth and just a little bit of a kick…
And this salad does not disappoint one bit.
The farro is earthy and nutty and delicately chewy, and soaks up the all too delicious dressing in a most wonderful way, along with the sweet chestnuts, crisp fall apples, and roasted sweet potatoes.
Sweet and bright, the dressing is made of honey, freshly squeezed orange juice, and cider vinegar, and oh so lovely with a light touch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne. I love how the little bit of cayenne pepper lingers in your mouth, warm and tingly, happy to be a player in such a gorgeous salad.
- 1 c. uncooked farro
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/4'' pieces
- 1 T. olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 10 large peeled chestnuts
- 3 T. chopped green onion
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, unpeeled, cored and diced into 1/4'' pieces
- 2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/3 c. honey
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 T. cider vinegar
- 1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 T. orange zest
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling over finished salad
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Prepare farro as directed on package. Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°. Place sweet potato cubes on roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scoot the sweet potatoes away from one end of the pan and add the chestnuts. Place pan in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove chestnuts to cutting board to cool. Give the sweet potatoes a stir, and then roast for an additional 5 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes from oven, stir, and let cool to room temperature. Cut chestnuts into about 8 pieces each. In a large bowl, combine farro, sweet potato, chestnuts, and green onion. In a small shallow bowl, stir apple pieces with orange juice to coat well. Add apples to bowl with farro.
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
Drizzle spiced honey dressing over the farro mixture and fold several times to incorporate. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate and serve within a few hours. Sprinkle just a bit of nutmeg over the top of the salad right before serving.
from a farmgirl's dabbles