Farro and Celery Salad with Ricotta Salata, Walnuts, and Dried Sour Cherries

Farro and Celery Salad with Ricotta Salata, Walnuts, and Dried Sour Cherries

Happy first day of spring! I hope the thermometer gets the memo soon. I can’t complain too much since I’m escaping to the West Coast next week. But really, great weather on Saturday (brunch! outside! without a jacket!) and snow on Monday? Let’s get it together.

I’ve finally started appreciating cold-weather salads this year. Not that I ever had anything against heartier greens, grains, or roasted root vegetables. I just never really considered that I should adapt my salads like I adapt my wardrobe to the changing seasons. But something clicked a few months ago when I had a kale salad with brown rice and braised chicken. Salad can be hearty! Salad can be comfort food! Salad can be eaten during snow storms!

Farro and Celery Salad with Ricotta Salata, Walnuts, and Dried Sour Cherries

Since we’re still riding a ridiculous weather roller coaster over here, I’m trying to see the upside in my salad bowl. This salad certainly meets the requirements for a hearty winter salad, but crunchy celery, dried sour cherries, and lemon-Dijon vinaigrette brighten it up enough that I’m planning to keep it around through spring. Fluffy, chewy farro provides the necessary bulk and carbs to fight off whatever weather you happen to be facing. Ricotta salata and walnuts add a touch of richness.

Farro and Celery Salad with Ricotta Salata, Walnuts, and Dried Sour Cherries

Does celery seem like an odd choice for the primary green component of a salad? It’s unexpected but is in no way a careless choice. I love its slightly peppery crunch. I’ve even started putting it in smoothies. Don’t tell me it doesn’t have any flavor. Liberate it from ranch dressing, hummus, and peanut butter. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.

Farro and Celery Salad with Ricotta Salata, Walnuts, and Dried Sour Cherries

Farro and Celery Salad with Ricotta Salata, Walnuts, and Dried Sour Cherries
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • ¼ pound ricotta salata
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup loosely packed parsley
  • ½ cup dried sour cherries or dried cranberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the farro on the stove according to the package instructions and set aside to cool. Toast the walnuts for 8-10 minutes in a 350-degree oven, shaking halfway through cooking. Chop the walnut roughly and set aside.
  2. Wash the celery and remove the inner leaves and soft stalks. Trim and cut into half-moon slices. Chop the parsley and crumble or shred the ricotta salata.
  3. Whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
  4. Toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Check the seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice, as desired.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I’m also in the DC area and I’m so ready to be done with winter. Monday was a bitterly cold snowstorm and now this morning I was overheating walking to work in my coat (it was pretty gorgeous out this morning). I finally have started becoming more interested in salads again too! I didn’t even realize how I had been avoiding them in winter. Now I just need to figure out where to buy ricotta salata.

    • joanna says

      Seriously, the temperature swings are ridiculous! I usually get ricotta salata at the cheese counter at Whole Foods by Logan Circle. Queso blanco would also be good and can be easier to find.

    • joanna says

      Half a green apple, a stalk or two of celery, half a banana, a couple handfuls of spinach, a little fresh ginger, ice — so it’s obnoxiously green but really good!

  2. says

    I found ricotta salata at Trader Joe’s.
    The salad is tasty but, next time, I want to use feta instead of ricotta salata, and I’ll add the dried cranberries instead of the sour cherries. I am also thinking to try raisins or chopped dates for sweetness.

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