Crunchy Spelt or Farro Salad with Artichokes, Red Bell Peppers, and Edamame

Wheat, like rice, has different varieties with differing starch balances. The first cultivated wheat, called einkorn, is ten thousand years old and still grown today. It crossbred with a wild grass to create emmer (or farro) and durum wheats. A few thousand more years passed before another chance crossbreeding created today’s common bread wheat as well as spelt and club wheat. If you can’t get farro or spelt berries, whole hard winter wheat berries will work, as will hulled barley or whole oats.


  • 1 cup spelt, farro or wheat berries
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt, divided, or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 ounces fresh basil (1 1/2 cups leaves)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 baby artichokes (or one 13-ounce jar artichoke bottoms, drained)
  • 1 whole lemon (if using fresh artichokes)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, thawed
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

    How to make it 

  • 1

    In a small, heavy saucepan, dry-toast the spelt over high heat until hot and lightly fragrant. Add the vegetable stock, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for about an hour, until tender. Drain any excess stock and cool to room temperature.

  • 2

    Make the dressing in a food processor. First, put the garlic, basil, and pine nuts in the work bowl and process to chop very finely. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lemon juice and process until smooth. Gradually add the olive oil to make a smooth paste.

  • 3

    If using fresh artichokes: Trim and halve the artichokes and put in a large bowl of cold water with half of the lemon. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drain the artichokes, and boil them until a knife inserted into an artichoke enters easily.

  • 4

    In a serving bowl, toss the cooked grain, dressing, artichokes, bell pepper, and edamame. Crack black pepper over the salad and serve. Makes 5 servings.

© Robin Asbell, The New Whole Grains Cookbook: Terrific Recipes Using Farro, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Barley, and Many Other Delicious and Nutritious Grains, Chronicle Books (2007)

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