It was a sweltering and surprisingly humid summer in Oregon after we returned from Italy. Ideal weather for making a variety of cold, refreshing salads. One of those perfect summer salads is this Mediterranean-Style Farro Salad with Fava beans and Vegan Feta and dressed with a simple Tangy Lemon Vinaigrette.
This wonderfully simple and hearty salad is beautifully balanced: nutty farro, tender fava beans, salty feta, sweet-tart sun-dried tomatoes, aromatic fresh mint leaves and scallions, delightfully crunchy cucumber, tangy lemon juice and plenty of lovely extra-virgin olive oil. Fava beans are also known as broad beans, they tend to be creamier and sweeter than most other beans. For this recipe I used canned organic fava beans, these can easily be replaced with prepared dried fava beans or in fact any other bean you might have handy. If you want a break from beans, try roasted squash, pumpkin or root vegetables as a substitute.
Currently only available in Oregon, this vegan Mediterranean Feta is lovingly crafted by Vtopian Artisan Cheeses – whose products are all dairy free, vegan and handmade in Eugene, Oregon. The owners, Imber and her husband Mark, recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign intended to help grow the brand. Vtopian is currently working hard to expand their distribution and introduce new product lines.
In addition to the current lineup of cheeses, Vtopian will also be releasing their new cheese wedges in mid-September. So be sure to keep an eye out for updates on these exciting new cheeses.
Vtopian currently has limited shipping to OR, CA, WA, ID and MT; however, you can also find them at the following retailers: Nooch Vegan Market, Vegan Haven, Republic of V and Food Fight! Grocery among others.
Vtopian Artisan Cheeses’ Mediterranean Feta contains crumbled organic tofu mixed with organic herbs, artichoke hearts, organic sun dried tomatoes and organic Kalamata olives. It was pretty tasty, savory and packed with delicious herbs including rosemary, oregano, and basil. It has the right amount of ‘saltiness’ which pairs so well with any type of salad or Mediterranean-style dishes.
Ingredients (vegan and gluten-free):
Ingredients: Tofu*, chickpea miso*, ume plum vinegar*, garlic*, lemon zest*, lemon*, rosemary*, oregano*, basil*, pepper*, sundried tomatoes*, kalamata olives*, artichoke hearts, chili flakes*, olive oil* (denotes organic)
Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, dried chili flakes, and salt in a small bowl and let macerate for 10 minutes. Whisk in the oil and add the garlic. Let the dressing sit for at least 30 minutes before adding to the salad.
Meanwhile place your cooked farro in a large salad bowl. Add beans, tomato, cucumber, sun dried tomatoes, and kale, then dress with vinaigrette. Toss well to distribute. Taste and add more salt, dried chili flakes or lemon juice if needed. Garnish with mint leaves, scallions and vegan feta. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Advance preparation: This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator for 1-2 days without garlic. The farro can be cooked up to 2 days ahead. The prepared salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator.
If not using vegan feta: add a bit more salt to taste. Feel free to add artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives for extra Mediterranean flavor. Here are other homemade vegan feta recipes to try: here, here, here and here.
To cook farro: cook 1 cup dried farro in 2 cups vegetable broth until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain well. Let cool at room temperature.
As a side note, I’m so thrilled to inform you that I’ll be participating in Vegan MoFo 2014 (Vegan Month of Food); it’s an annual blogging community where bloggers from around the world share almost daily about vegan food and everything else. I’ve done VeganMoFo in 2012 and 2013 on my blog (veganmiam.com), but this time I will be on Instagram ‘VeganMoFo’-ing! My theme will be “Vegan Food in Taiwan”, where I will be featuring dishes I’ve tasted and discovered in Taiwan from 2011 to 2014. And I hope you will learn more about Taiwanese cuisine. So find me on Instagram @veganmiam or by hashtag #veganmofoTAIWAN.