Being a holistic foodie, I have had my fair share of salads, both at restaurants and at home and I can honestly say that if I were to only ever have one salad for the rest of my life, it would be this farro salad! The dressing is kept super simple, but the addition of fresh herbs is what really makes this dish stand out. I really cannot take all the credit though, I was majorly inspired from a trip out to New York City where I first tasted this incredible farro salad.
NYC = Foodie Heaven!
My trip to New York City was beyond amazing, although crazy expensive. But that was mostly my fault as I had to go to several restaurants that I had been dying to try out and some of them were definitely on the pricier side, oops! I thought it would be fun to do a little review on the places I went to in case you too find yourself in NYC and want to know where to go. I did my research but I also had the greatest help and recommendations from a dear friend of mine who used to live out there. Here is my review in chronological order as I visited them, just so you know why I ordered them this way!
After reading Dan Barber’s book, ‘The Third Plate’ I had been dyingggggggg to check out this place and to try the delicious, beyond farm-to-table experience. I am sooo happy to report that this completely met all of my expectations and they were super high if you can’t already tell! Dining at the New York City location, both me and the bf went with the Farmers Feast option, which is a six-course tasting menu. Along the way, the waiter brings you small side dishes in between and the most amazing bread EVER that comes with some pretty incredible butter, I can’t quite explain how this is so good, but it is. Beyond the food being incredibly tasty, the service was top-notch and I never felt like it was overly pretentious or too formal. Our waiter was incredibly friendly and helpful when it came to picking the right bottle of wine and it didn’t hurt that he was also a huge baseball fan, so we bonded over that, even if he was a Red Sox fan ;). The atmosphere was really nice, quaint and we definitely felt we got more than enough attention because it was so intimate. Overall, the experience and the food was amazing and if you find yourself in NYC I would highly recommend this place. One day, I’ll definitely be sure to check out the actual Stone Barns, but for now I am more than content with my experience here.
This was a recommendation and I am sooooo happy that I went here. Located in China Town and honestly almost completely hidden away this place is a pure gem! We went here late at night for some drinks with friends and they immediately got my attention with their incredible cocktail menu. I mean seriously, a drink called “Kale in Comparison” already wins me over with a clever pun, but the ingredients…. oh my! Fresh kale juice with a little organic quinoa vodka, ginger and pineapple, is this real life?! Well here it is and its delicious, also they played a seriously insane Beyonce set and for that alone I would recommend it. Also, they use organic and local produce, herbs and botanicals. Go here, enjoy a delicious cocktail and dance the night away, you will not regret it!
Seeing that my boyfriend is quite the bagel and lox lover, we had to have a NYC bagel experience and this was quite the experience. The bagels are made fresh in house and the fish is carved as you enter the place, ensuring that it is really fresh. It was a bit pricey for what it was in my opinion, but I will say it was a really good bagel.
This is another restaurant that describes itself as farm-to-table and uses organic and local foods along with a beautiful ambience of white and wood, I was really excited to try this one out. I have had many friends rave about it, so I thought for sure this was going to be another hit. Unfortunately, I was left feeling kind of disappointed. I am all about the food as you know, so after trying an app and tasting two mains, I wasn’t blown away. The food was fine, but it wasn’t anything to write home about and kind of forgettable. I ordered the crab toast which was probably the best thing I ordered, but still it was crab on toast, nothing life altering here. For the mains, we ordered the organic fried chicken and the kasha and bowtie pasta with veal meatballs. I had asked the waiter what he recommended as I really wanted to try what was most popular and these were his picks. Maybe I ordered the wrong things, but it just didn’t do it for me. Sadly, I didn’t bother with dessert. Now if the service or ambience had been particularly amazing, I would have felt a little better about this place, sadly that wasn’t the case though. We both felt completely rushed throughout the entire experience and the food seemed to come out at rapid speed, kind of like it had already been pre-made. This kind of took away the uniqueness of a restaurant that prides itself on the slow food movement in my opinion. We felt like the waiter was hovering around our table waiting for us to finish so he could bring out the next dish, and the next guest which was no fun.
For anyone that doesn’t know, I used to call myself vegan for about two years and it was actually Chef Chloe and her cookbooks that I often turned to when I wanted to have some good old comfort food that was still completely vegan and by default ‘healthy’ or so I thought at the time. I know better now, but I still have such a huge soft spot for her dishes and how they basically got me through being vegan for quite a while. No disrespect to anyone out there who is vegan or plant based, but it is not the right diet for me and that is a whole other discussion. Anyways, I wanted to check out her place and engage in some “healthy” vegan eats. First off the concept, the packaging, marketing and the actual place itself is one of the best I have seen. It is all so bright and cheery but not in an annoying way at all, the packaging on the food is actually really cute, with the symbols of the food on them, I just had to Instagram it. Ok, so the food, how was it? I ordered the classic burger and fries (sweet potato of course) and it was pretty good, even my diehard meat loving bf liked it and he does not usually like any veggie burgers. The star of it all is this beet ketchup, its bright pink and tasty and makes for a great dip for your fries and on your burger. I really wanted to try the kale salad and the mac n’ cheese but a girl can only eat so much in between lunch and dinner (i.e. this was a snack!). Insert monkey covering their eyes emoji here…
This is where the magic happened friends! Pretty much everything I tried at this cute spot hit the spot entirely. I loved how laid back the place was, the old school hip hop being played in the background and of course the food! Here is what I ordered: the tuscan chicken liver (delishhhhh!), the bone marrow (good, but get the chicken liver), the farro salad (enough said of this already, see post title haha), the suckling pork (very good) and the zucchini blossoms (always a fave of mine). I love how they also use organic and local ingredients and their wine list is top notch. Also, the chef and co-owner was Beyonce and Jay-Z’s private chef, so…. you do the math. Good enough for Bey, more than good enough for me.
Image from Charlie Bird website.
On to the Farro Salad…
I enjoyed the salad so much that I knew I had to create a similar version of it when I got home. The version I enjoyed at Charlie Bird was accompanied by fresh tomatoes and radish, but I wanted to create something a little more Fall-inspired, so I decided to sub-in sweet potatoes instead. I am sure you could sub in any vegetable you choose, but please don’t sub out the herbs, the mint and the basil are in my opinion what makes this dish so fresh and tasty. Also the cheese, sorry dairy-free friends, but pecorino Romano or Parmesan are essential to this dish as well, as it provides the perfect compliment to the dish. Seeing that farro is not gluten free, you could try subbing it for arborio rice as that is what farro most closely resembles to me. When I do make risotto, I use the Organic Traditions brand of sprouted risotto mix, so I am sure you could sub this in and it would be fine. If you are going to go with the gluten and have farro, I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill brand as it is organic and cooks quickly in 30 minutes, and if you want to help with digestion even more, you can soak it prior to cooking it. Personally, as I have stated before, I am ok with including ancient grains like kamut, spelt and farro in my diet in moderation. However, most of the food I make is inherently gluten free by nature.
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Hoping you enjoy this salad as much as I do!
- 1 cup farro (rinsed)
- 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth- use low sodium)
- 1 cup water
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (2 cups cubed)
- 5-6 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup pistachios (lightly salted)
- 1 cup basil
- 1 cup mint
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (I used sheeps milk cheese- pecorino romano)
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 if using sweet potatoes
- Rinse 1 cup farro and place in a medium sized pot with 3 cups liquid (I used 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water).
- Add 1/4 tsp. sea salt and bay leaves.
- Bring to a light boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or according to package directions.
- Let cool and then remove bay leaves and any excess water if it remains.
- Cube 2 medium sized sweet potatoes.
- Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle avocado oil, sea salt and pepper on it.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes at 350.
- Slice or chiffonade your basil and mint.
- Add your cooled farro to a large bowl, add in your cooked and cubed sweet potato, arugula, herbs and add your dressing.
- Before serving, add your pistachios and cheese. (This is important if you want to still maintain the crunch from your pistachios).
- Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil if needed and add sea salt to taste.
A few extra pictures from my NYC trip!
Had a lovely breakfast at Two Hands and this matcha latte with almond milk!
I didn’t get to actually try this place out (sadly!), but just look how cute it is (all vegetarian menu).
Delicious acai bowl from my last day in NYC!