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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

There is something so satisfying about a farro salad, especially when it's a complete meal. All you have to do is toss some in a big bowl, grab a fork, and dig in. My favorite versions are all about a mix of contrasting textures, so that every bite is unique. It all starts with a base of farro, which should be tender but with a pleasurable bite. Its nutty profile loves fresh and acidic flavors. Usually that just means a squeeze of lemon, but I decided to really play with the additions.

Fresh seafood really lighten things up. Though shrimp was my first thought, I eventually settled on squid. Just be careful. Cook squid too long and it seizes up, turning a texture close to rubber. But cook it quickly over high heat, and the squid remains tender, but with a slight pull to it—kind of like the farro. Texturally they may be similar, but the fresh flavor of the squid, along with the bite of garlic and red pepper flakes, help it stand out proudly against the farro.

Along with the requisite lemon juice and some fresh parsley, I added some white beans for creaminess and green beans for crunch. You can either serve the salad straightaway or let it cool to room temperature. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed it warm. Of course, that could have just been because I was hungry.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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