A big grain bowl perfect to kick off this spring season. You'll love the nutty farro combined with the sweet, slow-roasted leeks. Leeks don’t always get to be the centerpiece of your dish, but in the spring months when they are thin and tender and such a beautiful green, they are worth the spotlight. Here, roasted leeks and toasted grains are served with a spicy, nutty walnut cauliflower pesto. Leftovers make a great lunch the next day and the pesto can be kept covered in the fridge for a few days.
Slow Roasted Leeks With Toasted Grains and Pesto [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 8-12 thin leeks
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup farro, wheat berries, spelt, or kamut (or buckwheat groats for a gluten-free and grain-free option)
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup packed fresh arugula
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon walnut oil (or olive oil if not on hand)
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F and bring a kettle full of water to boil, meanwhile prep the leeks. Chop and discard the dark greens parts of the leeks and remove the root-y ends. If your leeks look dirty, remove the outermost layer and rinse under cold water.
- Cut leeks into whatever length you need so that they line up nicely in your baking dish. Place leeks in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for a few minutes, then strain and place in baking dish. This step helps remove any hidden dirt and softens the leeks so that they don’t get stringy after roasting.
- Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and season well with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place in the oven to roast, turning once, for about 40 minutes or until soft, time will depend on the size of your leeks. If they start to get crispy around the edges turn down your oven temperature so that they can cook through entirely without burning.
- While the leeks are roasting, cook your farro or other grains. You can soak them in the morning, to reduce cooking time. Drain and rinse the farro, then place in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Toast the farro in the dry pan for a few minutes, until the farro is dry and fragrant. Add 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer for 35 minutes, or until the farro is cooked through but still al-dente. Strain any excess water.
- Make the pesto. Place walnuts, arugula, oils, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice in a small blender and blend until smooth or just a bit chunky.
- Cut leeks into chunks, toss with farro and half the pesto. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and serve with fresh rocket, a few extra walnuts, lemon zest, and lots of pepper. Serve with extra pesto on the side.