Sunny colors brighten up warm winter salad

Amy Sherman

When I first got married, I used to ask my husband if he wanted salad with dinner. The answer was usually, “No.” After a few years, I wised up and started serving him salad without asking first.

But he often didn’t eat much of it despite my raving, “Have some salad! It’s delicious!” Lately, I’ve hit upon a solution. I serve salad as a main dish, or pile everything onto it so it’s an integral part of the meal. If only someone had told me about main dish salads 12 years ago.

During winter, or whenever it’s cold outside, salads are not usually a first thought. But they should be. Just as summer is the perfect time for cold soup, winter is the ideal season to try a warm salad. I like to start with a cooked grain, such as farro or quinoa, then use seasonal fruits or vegetables and add some heartier elements. In this case, it’s feta cheese and almonds.

I love the sunny colors and hearty crunch to this salad. It’s kind of the antithesis of a tossed green salad, all floppy and wilted. It’s bright and cheerful, yet very hearty. I also like combination of citrus, pomegranate, almonds and feta with a touch of ginger. But feel free to change up the ingredients in the salad or use a different dressing or spice, if you prefer.

Warm Winter Farro Salad

1 cup pearled farro

1 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup diced feta, about 6 ounces

1 cup toasted sliced almonds

2 tangerines, peeled and segments cut in half

3/4 cup sliced celery, about 2 to 3 stalks

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the farro, cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until al dente (or cook according to package instructions). In a bowl combine the pomegranate seeds, feta, almonds, tangerines and celery. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and ginger in a bowl.

When the farro is cooked, drain it and toss it in a bowl with the other ingredients and dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Per serving: 540 calories; 28 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 47 percent calories from fat); 55 g carbohydrates; 14 g sugar; 38 mg cholesterol; 508 mg sodium; 19 g protein; 9 g fiber.