Professor Jacka’s spicy salad with farro, sprouts and crispy chickpeas

Provided by Professor Jacka from her excellent book Brain Changer, demonstrating how eating good-quality food like this will ‘optimise mental and brain health across your lifespan’. This delicious warm salad with chickpeas, brussels sprouts and wholegrain farro will take you and your microbiome to a better place!

spicy salad
Chris Alack


210g can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
120g farro
300g brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
1 1/2 tbsp currants
2-3 tbsp pomegranate seeds


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
pinch of chilli flakes
sea salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Spread over the chickpeas, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with the cumin and fennel seeds. Roast for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.

2. Meanwhile, cook the farro according to the packet instructions and keep it warm. Blanch the sprouts in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and add to the farro.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the currants and chickpeas.

4. To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the dressing through the salad and serve warm, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.