Repurposing the farro

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It happened because The Kid had to miss dinner.

My child was coming over for supper because I wanted to share the greatest moo goo gai pan in the history of moo goo gai pan.

For the uninitiated, moo goo is a Chinese dish consisting of thin slices of white meat chicken, lots of various veggies, all in a silky, rather mild sauce. It’s really delicious and a terrific comfort food.

There’s a Chinese restaurant near the dealership where I work and everybody says it has the best Chinese in the city. At least once a week the managers get General Tso’s for themselves. It’s too spicy for me (especially since they like to order it extra spicy and eat it as an endurance test), but boy, oh boy it sure makes the office smell delicious.

One day they kindly ordered some moo goo for me and it was transcendent. Honestly the best I ever had.

The Kid loves the dish as much as me, so last week I was going to get some for us both. We had decided to have brown rice with it because to us it’s tastier with a pleasing chewiness. Then I decided to make farro instead of the brown rice, so I picked up some. Farro’s an Italian wheat that is very chewy and cooks for about 45 minutes. But it’s also so tasty that it can be eaten all by itself — and it’s packed full of nutrition. To find it, check out your local grocer with a good bulk food section.

I’ve mentioned it before, but my child has rheumatoid arthritis and was in the midst of a flair (this is when the disease makes itself felt by lots of extra pain, more fatigue than usual and the locking up of various joints in the body). Because of this, dinner was postponed until this week.


I was looking forward to farro.

So I decided to make a farro salad. There used to be a local deli that made a farro salad that was ambrosial. They made it very seldom, and I was only able to have it a few times before they closed. Because it’s been some years, I only ate it every once in a while, and I’m really old, and I’ve forgotten the ingredients.

Since I couldn’t remember what was in the old one, I created a new one.

Farro would give me the chewy and the background earthy flavor. I chose roasted chickpeas for crunch. The cheese would bring salty and creamy to the party. Chicken goes with anything and has lots of low-fat protein. I chose pea shoots for the bright green-ness of them (both in flavor and appearance). I chose the corn because it’s a little different and it has a nice chewiness that compliments the farro. The green onions were for a little sharpness, and the lemon dressing made what could be a heavy combo have a lightness.

It was so “light” I ate enough for a rugby team.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at

New Fangled Farro Salad

Lemon dressing

(This will make more than you need for the salad, it’s really good on all kinds of things, from fish to avocado toast … and regular green salad.)

Into a jar, place:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

Big pinch kosher salt

Crack of freshly ground pepper

Shake until it becomes an emulsified, cohesive dressing. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week. Shake vigorously before using.


1 cup cooked and cooled farro

1 cup cooked and cooled shoepeg corn

3/4 shredded white chicken

1/4 cup cubed dry farmer’s cheese (like Chapel Hill Creamery’s)

1/4 cup roasted chickpeas

Big handful of pea shoots

3 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias

Salt and pepper

Place all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and pour on about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of lemon dressing and toss to coat. Season, taste and re-season if needed.

Along with crusty bread, makes two dinner-sized salads.

If making ahead, leave out pea shoots and mix in just before service.


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