Thanks to a traipsing bunch of monkeys swinging from my cart, my grocery store focus was somewhat disjointed the other day and I did the unthinkable. I bought fat-free feta cheese.
It wasn't until halfway though chopping spinach, artichoke hearts and Kalamata olives that I realized my error. In a bit of a tizzy I tossed the hunk of glubber (I really don't know how else to describe it) onto the counter. And it bounced. There is no excuse for fat-free cheese. Moderation is fine. I can get behind reduced fat dairy products of all kinds but fat-less cheese? Why not chew on a Kong instead. At least it will clean your teeth.
The beauty of this salad is multifarious. It's nutritious, full of flavor, quick and painless to make, easy to scale to a crowd, can be deconstructed for picky kids, and super versatile. I've made it with orzo, brown rice, quinoa, and farro but I imagine it would be just as tasty with whole wheat rotini, penne, basmati rice, bulgur, kamut or just about any other grain you can think of, but please, no fat-free feta!
adapted from Cooking Light May 2010
1 cup farro, uncooked
2 cups baby spinach, washed, dried and chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, diced
3 tbsp. Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, reserve the marinade
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1. Rinse and cook farro according to package directions. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Combine cooked farro, spinach, tomatoes, onion, and olives. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Drain artichokes by pouring the marinade into the bowl over the top of the farro mixture (this is the dressing). Chop artichokes and add to bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the feta cheese and toss everything together gently. Top with remaining 1/4 cup feta cheese.
Makes about 4 servings of 1-1/4 cup each.