Ina Garten's Hearty Salad Recipe Is the Perfect Healthy Dinner Idea

Ina Garten has the perfect healthy dinner idea if you overindulged during the holidays. The Barefoot Contessa star’s “delicious and satisfying” salad recipe is a great meal with a variety of flavors and textures.

Ina Garten shared her easy salad recipe for a light dinner

On Jan. 6, Garten took to Instagram to share a healthy dinner idea to start the year off right. “Post holiday excess, I’m making lighter dinners for us this month but this Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad is so delicious and satisfying that no one minds!” she captioned an image of her hearty salad.

Garten demonstrated how to make the easy Charlie Bird’s farro salad recipe during an episode of Barefoot Contessa about “portable food.”

She noted that the salad “is always the answer when the question is ‘what to take to a potluck party?’”

The Food Network host explained, “There’s a dish that I make a lot that would be great to take to potluck parties. It’s Charlie Bird’s farro salad. It’s robust, you can make it ahead, and it travels really well.”

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The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star shared the origins of the satisfying dish

Garten explained what farro is and where the recipe originated. “Farro’s an ancient wheat grain and it’s just really sort of chewy and earthy and I just adore it.”

She poured the farro into a pot, added apple cider, water, bay leaves, and salt. Garten brought the mixture to a boil then let it simmer for 30 minutes.

“This is one of those great recipes that just gets handed from person to person,” she explained. “My friend Peter Wallace made it for me — I loved it so much. He’d gotten it from Melissa Clark, who had published it in the New York Times and she had gotten it from Charlie Bird, who has this fabulous restaurant in Greenwich Village in New York City. And I just love making it.”

Garten added, “I’ve done a few little tweaks of my own but it’s basically Charlie Bird’s.”

Garten assembled the salad and dressed it with an easy lemon vinaigrette

Garten removed the bay leaves and drained the liquid from the farro, then added it to a bowl. She made an easy lemon vinaigrette by combining olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and black pepper, then poured it over the warm farro, reserving some of the vinaigrette for the rest of the salad.

“It’s really important to pour it on warm farro because it really absorbs the vinaigrette,” she explained.

The Barefoot Contessa star allowed the farro and dressing to cool for 15 minutes, then assembled the salad. “This has lots of really interesting ingredients, starting with radishes,” Garten said. She added radishes, salted roasted pistachios, chopped parsley, chopped mint, cherry tomato halves, arugula, and parmesan cheese shavings.

“I love this salad,” Garten said. “It’s like every bite has something different in it — the spicy radishes, the earthy farro, and the peppery arugula … and that crunch of the pistachios.”

She tossed everything together and explained that the salad is perfect to make and eat throughout the week. She added another drizzle of the vinaigrette and sea salt for texture. “Trust me, you bring this salad to somebody’s house — you’ll always be invited back,” Garten shared.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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