Roger Unger is the executive chef for Sodexo at Sharp Coronado Hospital.
While growing up in sunny Florida, I was always searching for meals that were light and full of flavor to combat the heat and humidity, as well as fuel my energy levels and boost my mood. Our As our San Diego weather has been similarly warm recently and as we head into fall, I wanted to offer one of my favorite recipes to nurture your body, mind and spirit.
Farro is an ancient wheat grain that is nutty in flavor and chewy in texture. Quinoa, unlike farro, is gluten-free, and has a slightly nutty flavor with a texture like couscous. The cold farro-quinoa salad and warm roasted salmon not only makes a perfect combination but also offers an extremely nutritious meal — high in protein, fiber and nutrients, such as magnesium, zinc, some B vitamins and various beneficial antioxidants.
This simple but flavorful recipe can be put together quickly just for you rself or for your whole family. You can do some or all of the chopping the day before, and assemble the salad an hour or so before dinner time. And it’s a meal that keeps on giving — pack up any leftovers for a next-day lunch.
Roasted Salmon with Mediterranean Farro-Quinoa Salad
Fuel your energy levels and boost your mood with this simple but flavorful fish dish.
- 1.5 pounds of salmon, cut into 4 (6-ounce) fillets
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper (to taste)
Step 1: Cook the Grains
Using a strainer, rinse the farro and drain. In a pot, add the farro to 3 cups vegetable stock. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until it is soft, but still has a bit of a bite. Drain and spread farro on a plate to cool.
Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa well and drain. In a pot, add quinoa to 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Let cool slightly and spread out onto a plate to finish cooling.
Step 2: Assemble the Salad
In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Prepare all the veggies and herbs and place in a large bowl. Once cooled, combine cooked quinoa and farro with remaining ingredients.
Pour the whisked vinaigrette over and stir gently to coat. Then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Step 3: Cook the Salmon
Heat the oven to 450° F. Portion the salmon fillets to approximately 6-ounce servings. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. On a nonstick baking sheet or baking sheet lined with foil, place salmon skin-side down. Bake until the salmon is cooked through, roughly 12 to 15 minutes.
I hope you find this recipe tasty and simple enough to serve for your family and friends on a beautiful San Diego afternoon or evening. Enjoy!