RECIPE: Summer Farro and Grilled Vegetable Salad

Summer is the time for pasta salads. And if you want to expand your pasta salad repertoire, including whole grains is a healthy and fun way to do so. Farro is one of my favorites. The issue with farro is how long it takes to cook. Farro, as in many ingredients for this salad, can be made ahead of time and then just assembled an hour or so before eating. So you can put some farro on the stove Sunday, then just store it to use later in the week. Or buy what I use now, Trader Joe's 10 minute farro. It's the bomb.

Did I tell you I loved Trader Joe's? Well. I do.
And I love this salad. My husband and I couldn't stop eating it. So good. SO going to be on our dinner rotation all summer long. And my 10 year old liked it, so no worry with the kiddies!

Summer Farro and Grilled Vegetable Salad

3 cups farro cooked in 4-5 cups boiling chicken broth until tender, then drained*
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 large tomato, seeds and pulp removed and chopped
1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 large yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, optional

vegetable marinade:
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
two cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon chopped chives
1/2 cup olive oil


Place sliced vegetables in an 8 x 8 square pan or shallow dish. In a small bowl whisk together marinade ingredients, adding olive oil last and whisking until emulsified. Add marinade to zucchini and squash and marinade for an hour, jostling and turning the vegetables as they sit in the marinade.

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until lightly golden brown. Let cool in a small bowl.

In a small sauce pan, heat some hot water until boiling. Add cannellini beans, and blanche in boiling water for about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, shock beans with cold water and let cool. Set cannellini beans aside.

 Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. In a small bowl add the granulated garlic, lemon juice, a dash of salt and pepper. Whisk with the 1/2 cup of olive oil until emulsified. Then in a large salad bowl, mix the cold farro, red onion, chopped tomato, cooled cannellini beans, pine nuts, chopped parsley and basil and toss with a fork. Then add lemon garlic dressing to the mixture. Mix with a fork, and let sit for about 20 minutes while you grill your vegetables. Grill the vegetables over a medium flame on the grill for about five minutes on each side, or just until you have grill marks and the vegetables are tender. Take them off the grill, and chop the vegetables roughly. Don't use all of it. I just used four slices of zucchini and four of the squash. Use your judgment for balance. Add the chopped vegetables to the farro mixture and toss. Adjust seasoning and serve at room temperature. Add some crumbled goat cheese for some extra flair, but it is not necessary.

* Cooking farro can take a while, unless you can get some precooked farro, such as "Trader Joe's 10 minute farro". It really only took about 10 minutes. Follow package directions for your farro, and remember, you can cook it a few days before and just store it in the fridge to use later in this dish. I cook mine in chicken broth for extra flavor. It's worth it. Even throwing a couple of bouillon cubes in your water gives things a flavor boost.



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