A twist on mushroom-barley soup, this warming broth, nourished with fresh hens of the woods, royal trumpets, oysters, and chanterelles, counts as a meal. The farro is tender but with a satisfying chew, a handful of dried porcini offers additional depth of flavor, and dill and vinegar give each spoonful a real pop.
Chewy farro -- an Italian whole grain -- is tossed with mixed greens in this colorful salad. It's flavored by two kinds of grapes that have been baked in a low oven to concentrate their sweetness and release their juices. The Concord grapes aren't seedless, but they make a beautiful garnish.
Dial back on grains, and scale up on lean protein and fresh produce. Too often, popular "rice bowls" lean heavily on carbs -- as much as 1 cup of rice in a serving. But just a few tweaks help these dishes strike a better balance.
Purple kale or curly kale can be substituted for the Tuscan variety (also called lacinato); chop the sturdy leaves instead of tearing them. Spelt is a good alternative to farro, with a similar taste and texture. We prefer French feta, which is typically milder and creamier, to other varieties.
This recipe is one of our Better Basics: 10 New Takes on Family Favorites, see the others.
A no-cook tomato sauce is all about allowing the different ingredients to soak up one another's flavors. Let this one sit for at least an hour -- even three, if you've planned ahead. If your tomatoes are super ripe, skip the knife and tear them to pieces with your hands. (Whole-wheat noodles can sub in for the farro ones.)