Main course meat dishes are what you think of first when grilling. We all love burgers, steaks, chops and sausages, but using the grill to bring out the sweet, caramelized flavors of fruit and vegetables is a whole other level of grilling that gives you the chance to create some really delicious side dishes.
In this recipe I used grilled pineapple, corn, avocado, bell pepper and citrus to create a simple side made with farro. Farro is similar to brown rice in texture and flavor, but it’s actually a whole grain, best known in Italian cuisine, that is more nutritious than rice and filled with vitamins and minerals. It’s also easier to cook than rice. Simply cover with water in a pan and boil for 20 to 25 minutes until tender with a slight al dente texture.
Because the farro doesn’t have much of its own flavor, it was the perfect host for all of my grilled vegetables and citrus. Citrus becomes very fragrant when grilled and so does pineapple. Both of them lose their tart and sour flavors and the grill allows the sugars and juices to caramelize and take on a deep, delicious flavor.
The char on the vegetables creates a great contrast in flavor and texture and the grilled avocado is smoky, but creamy when you bite into it. Serve this side dish with your favorite grilled chicken or fish recipe and you have a complete meal from the grill that is light, healthy and full of rich flavor. It is also delicious stuffed into tomatoes, peppers or squash.
Citrus-Infused Farro with Grilled Vegetables and Pineapple
1 cup farro
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cored pineapple (available from FRESH kit kitchen)
1/2 bell pepper
1 ear of corn
Place farro in a fine mesh sieve and rinse until water runs clear. Place in a saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until farro is tender, but slightly chewy. Strain and rinse and place in a bowl. Add the juice from 1 orange, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.
Light the grill and heat to high. Prepare fruits and vegetables by slicing remaining orange, pineapple, avocado, bell pepper and one each of the limes and lemons. Spread slices onto a sheet pan, along with the ear of corn. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime and lemon over the fruits and vegetables. Grill in batches just until grill marks appear and surface begins to caramelize.
Remove everything from the grill and cut the pineapple, bell pepper and avocado into a small dice and stir into the farro. Remove kernels from the corn and add those, as well. Serve the farro at room temperature or cold. Use the grilled citrus slices as garnish for the plate.