Parents Need to Eat Too

In Which We Atone for Caramel-Coated Sins with Tuna, Farro, and White Bean Salad

In Which We Atone for Caramel-Coated Sins with Tuna, Farro, and White Bean Salad

After a sugar-induced delirium lasting nearly a week (and a resultant gain at Weight Watchers on Saturday), all I could think about was having something simple, satisfying, and virtuous for dinner last night. We had plenty of fresh vegetables, mostly going limp with horror at my caramelly profligacy, and cans of tuna and white beans. A mélange of fresh herbs holding up remarkably well in their paper-towel wrappers. A small Rubbermaid container of sherry vinaigrette, leftover from earlier in the week. Capers. Ahh, the makings of a healthy dinner! But I wanted something toothy to round out the dish, something with more bite to it than pasta, more substance than couscous…ho! What’s that behind the brown rice? The remainder of the farro I’d purchased a few months ago. Perfect.

I cooked up the farro in the late afternoon and steamed the broccoli soon after, so when the time came to actually make the salad it pulled together in just a few minutes. And as I hoped, it was quite filling—but even better, it was quite delicious. Leftovers made a nice little lunch today, too. I’m going to give you the list of ingredients I used below, but really you can use any mix of vegetables you want.

Weight Watchers readers: by my calculations, this comes in at around 8 points per serving. (I’m trying the Flex Plan this week, so I’m counting the whole thing. If I weren’t, this entire meal would be Core!)

Tuna, Farro, and White Bean Salad
Serves 4

1 ½ cups farro (or barley)
½ head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/3 seedless (English) cucumber, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 can tuna, drained
1 can white beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again
½ cup assorted fresh herbs, minced [I used parsley, thyme, mint, and sage]
2 T. capers, chopped if they’re large
Salt & pepper
Romaine & red leaf lettuce leaves
Dressing of your choice [I used sherry vinaigrette, but this would also be lovely with a lemony dressing]

Put farro in a bowl and cover with cold water. Discard any pieces that float to the surface—these are likely hulls and won’t be pleasant to eat. Drain. In a large saucepan, combine farro with four cups of fresh water and two teaspoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for ½ hour or until farro is chewy but cooked through. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water, to stop cooking and to cool. Put in your biggest salad bowl.

Steam broccoli until it’s tender but still crisp. While it’s steaming, prepare a large bowl of cold water. Transfer the cooked broccoli to the cold water as soon as it’s done, to stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color. Drain, and break into even smaller florets—you want these to be truly bite-sized. Add to the salad bowl.

Add in everything else through the capers, and toss to combine. Add salt & pepper, and dressing, and toss thoroughly. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.

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