My favorite section on every picnic table is always the space dedicated to all the cold salads. Sure, the hot dogs and burgers may end up taking the lead spot on my plate, but it’s the strong supporting cast of potato, pasta, and bean salads that always steal the show. Recently, we’ve been making a lot of dishes with those gatherings in mind and they tend to feature lentils and chickpeas more than anything else. However, after having a few salads with farro, I’ve fallen completely in love with it’s nutty flavor and chewy texture. It’s also easy to make and it lends itself to so many applications whether it’s a take on sweet morning oatmeal or a cheesy, savory risotto. Toast it before boiling and you get even more of an flavor kick.
Of all the cold salads on the table, if any feature pesto, you can bet that I’m taking an extra serving. Typically it’s served with a pasta so I wanted to make something a little less carb-y and more nutritious. Farro was the perfect alternative than the average dried farfalle or orzo. By making the pesto a bit more kale forward, I was able to add some other health benefits as well. The final perk of this simple salad is how quick it is to make. Give it try at your next family or friends gathering. We believe it’ll be a hit.
Suggestion – Depending on the size of the party, you may want to double or triple the recipe.
2 cups packed kale, stems removed
1 cup packed fresh basil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan
3 cups of water
pinch of salt
1 cup farro
1 cup cucumber, sliced & quartered
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. After preparing the pesto, you will toast the farro a bit while the water comes to boil.
Place the kale, basil, and salt in a food processor and pulse around 10-12 times, or until everything is finely chopped. Add lemon juice.
With the processor running, drizzle in all of the olive oil. When blended, turn off machine so that you can remove the lid to scrap down the sides.
Drop in the walnuts and garlic, and then pulse about 6-8 times. Pour in the grated parmesan and pulse until everything is thoroughly blended, approx 6 more times.
Scrap into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate while you prepare the other items.
Rinse farro under cold water and pat dry to eliminate any excess water. Pour fresh water into a 3.5+ quart sauce pot and turn on the heat to medium-high. Toss in a pinch of salt to season the water.
Toast the farro on a sheet pan for 10 minutes while to water comes to boil. Once finished, add to boiling water and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Test it about 6-8 minutes in to check on its softness. You want it al dente. Strain the farro once ready and allow to cool on a pan for about 5 minutes.
Remove pesto from the fridge and gently mix with the cooled farro in a medium mixing bowl. Once mixed completely, add tomatoes, shallots, and cucumber and fold together.
Place in an airtight container, or simply seal the bowl with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for approx 1 hour before serving.