Quinoa, Heirloom Tomatoes and Flowers

Today was my first cooking demonstration at Whole Foods in Los Angeles (Fairfax/3rd). What a great opportunity it was having free reign of the store for ingredients at Whole Foods to show people how to prepare some tasty recipes! Since we're right in the middle of summer I thought summer salads would be a great introduction. They're, fresh, light, easy and delicious. 

Since the burner was having an off day in the kitchen, instead cooking farro (per the recipe), I took the opportunity to substitute already cooked quinoa from the kitchen. I also decided that since the edible flowers were all snagged up, I'd use broccoli sprouts as a quick and suitable swap. Side note, if you don't currently use any type of sprouts in your foods, I'd highly recommend them - they're loaded with phytonutrients and very versatile. However, being surprised in the kitchen is one of the things I have learned to love. You've always got to be on your toes as sometimes ingredients aren't as easily available. The most important thing is to trade it in for something you'll equally enjoy. 

Below is the original intended recipes but the images will reflect the substituted ingredients. Enjoy!

Farro, Heirloom Tomatoes and Flowers

Ingredients:

  • ½ c farro
  • 2 T pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 ½ t za’atar
  • 1 T finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 T sumac
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t fresh ground pepper
  • Edible flowers and/or sprouts for garnishing (optional)
  • olive oil
  • s+p to taste

If you can remember, soak the farro in acidulated water for 4 hours or overnight. This step can be skipped however, soaking grains renders the nutrients more digestible by breaking down hard-to-digest proteins. This makes the nutrient absorption much easier on our bodies. If you have digestion issues, I would highly recommend this! If you simply don't have time or forget, that's okay too. Before cooking, rinse the farro. Then bring salted water to a boil and add the farro. Let this simmer for 20 minutes or so - or until it's soft but still has a bite. Drain and season with olive oil and salt.

While the farro is cooking, mix pomegranate molasses with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

You can buy za'atar or make your own. It's such a nice and unusual seasoning - great for flatbreads, chicken, eggplant, etc. Simply mix all ingredients together. Store for weeks in an airtight container at room temp. 

I like to slice the tomatoes into rounds and wedges. Peel the avocado and cut into similar sizes as tomatoes. Spread farro on a plate and top with tomatoes, avocado, edible flowers/sprouts and a sprinkle of za’atar. Drizzle with the pomegranate dressing to finish the plate and enjoy!

***Try experimenting with your favorite grains - wheat berries, couscous, quinoa, etc., instead of farro***