Summer Farro Salad

Seasonal produce is in full swing! All the gorgeous fruits and veggies we have been waiting for since planting back in the spring are beginning to fulfill their potential. My herb plants are bursting from their containers, and my tomatoes are beginning to turn the deep red I hoped for! I couldn’t be more excited to eat healthy foods.

I have featured recipes with farro in the past, such as my winter farro vegetable soup. That recipe used a long cooking version perfect for extracting layers of flavor from soups. But now that its summer, and no one wants to have the stove or oven on for an hour, the quick-cooking version is a great choice. Luckily Trader Joe’s recently began carrying the par-cooked version of this whole grain speeding up the cooking process considerably!

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Regular farro requires a soaking time plus a one hour simmer; this quick cooking version boils to chewy, nutty perfection in 10-15 minutes, without sacrificing any flavor or texture. (This is the same amount of time it takes to boil pasta by the way)

Grains get a bad reputation in the summer when we tend to focus on lighter fare such as salads, grilled foods, and raw fruits and vegetables. I find myself forgetting to include them altogether…but with this recipe you get the best of both worlds, and it is delicious! Since the dressing doesn’t contain any mayo it would be great for a potluck, cook-out, or just a simple summer dinner (I served this with simply grilled chicken).

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. quick cooking farro
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 c. red onion, minced
  • 1/2 c. kalamata olives, chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing

  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c. olive oil (approximately)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil; add farro and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cucumber, green/red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and green onions.

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Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Drain farro when tender; it should still have a nutty texture and al dente bite.

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Next, in a liquid measuring cup combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk to combine. Toss farro with vegetables, after it cools slightly, then pour dressing over mixture. Stir to combine, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. You can continue with the recipe at this point and serve room temperature, or chill it in the refrigerator for several hours then serve.

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When ready to serve top with thinly sliced basil leaves and crumbled feta. Enjoy!

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