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Black Beans and Farro with Herb Radish Salad

Black Beans and Farro with Herb Radish Salad

I can eat rice and beans any time of the year, but when it’s cold outside there is nothing more comforting than a big pot of beans, slowly simmering for hours and perfuming your home.  Instead of using rice, I will consume my carbohydrate calories wisely and substitute for the nutty, complex grain, farro.  An ancient grain said to have originated in the Fertile Crescent, it packs in fiber, vitamin B3 and zinc amongst a host of other nutrients.  This is not only a healthy meal, but inexpensive and delicious.

Black Beans

Black Beans

Ingredients & Method (serves at least 4)

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 1 green pepper, small dice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, small dice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 tablespoons canola or any neutral oil
  • Water
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of any vinegar or lemon juice

Heat oil in a large heavy pot on medium-high heat.  Add onions, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften.  Add green and Serrano peppers and cook until soft, stirring now and again, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin and coriander and cook until garlic and spices are fragrant, about one minute.  Add beans and stir to coat with vegetables and aromatics.  Add enough water to cover the beans by at least two inches.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover for about two hours, stirring the beans every so often.  Once beans are to the texture of your liking, remove cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes to evaporate some liquid.  Season with salt and pepper and vinegar or lemon juice.

For Farro

  • 1 cup farro
  • 4 cups water
  • good pinch of salt

In a large pot, bring water and farro to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.  When farro is almost tender, season with a very generous pinch of salt and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes or until desired texture is achieved.  Drain and spread on a flat surface (parchment lined sheet tray or a plate) for even cooling.

For Herb Radish Salad

Castelfranco, herbs, cipollini and radish

Castelfranco, herbs, cipollini and radish

  • ¼ cup picked cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup picked mint leaves
  • 5 thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 thinly sliced cipollini onions
  • 1 small head Castelfranco*, thinly sliced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste
  • Lemon or lime juice, to taste
  • Lime salt, to taste (see recipe)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Queso fresco

Toss together cilantro, mint, radishes, cipollini and castelfranco.  Dress with olive oil, lemon or lime juice, lime salt and black pepper.

Serve beans and farro in a bowl and garnish with salad and a few crumbles of queso fresco.

*Castelfranco is a type of radicchio originally from the region of Veneto, Italy.  It is grown in the US and available during the winter months, when radicchio varieties are in season.

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