Farro Salad with Chicken and Summertime Herbs

No, this isn’t a spinach leaf, it’s a basil leaf! I couldn’t resist sharing. It made for a tasty batch of pesto that evening!

If you are a longtime reader, I’m sure you’ve noticed a couple of things; I love to make soup in the winter and salad suppers in the summer! So please bear with me, for yet another salad that can be made ahead of time in these lazy, hot days of summer!

Farro seems to be the golden child of grains these days; both Cooking Light and Eating Well recently had a few recipes on different farro salads. Gone are the days when I received a quizzical look when I asked if it was available at the coop. This grain is high in protein and delicious; I’ve used it a couple of times before, here and here, but in case you’ve missed it, it’s like a large grain of barley, but without the barley flavor. It’s an easy grain to cook with and I find it incredibly versatile; you could add it to salads, soups, you could even add some fruit and eat it for breakfast! But, while being the golden child, it is not a gluten-free grain, so if that is the route you would like to take, quinoa can certainly be substituted for this dish.

So on that note, I decided to create my own salad with a little bit of chicken, a few vegetables, and some fresh herbs I bought at the farmer’s market. (I even snuck in some dill; we’ll see what the dill hater of the family thinks!) This time of year, you can add whatever protein and vegetable you like. Some beans or cheese for  vegetarian version, and I thought about fresh zucchini or summer squash would be tasty, too; it will be delicious any way you make it yourself! I did find the olive oil and vinegar were absorbed after sitting for a few days; an easy problem that can be solved with a dash of the two before serving.

Farro Salad with Chicken and Summertime Herbs
1 ½-2 cups farro, cooked (substitute quinoa if you’re making this gluten-free)
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
1 small shallot, minced (red onion or scallions could be substituted)
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup or so, fresh green beans, snapped in half
3 large basil leafs, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1-2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 capfuls champagne vinegar (or another light vinegar–white wine or rice)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large mixing bowl, add the ingredients and mix together, adjusting to taste!

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Marion Cunningham: A Tribute
I was very sad to hear about the death of cook and award-winning food writer, Marion Cunningham, last week. I am always inspired by people who take on the second phase of their life with gusto; a stay-at-home mother, Cunningham overcame agoraphobia and alcoholism at age 50 and began her cooking career with the famed James Beard. New York Times writer, Kim Severson, wrote a lovely piece in memory of her friend and this true champion to the home cook. You can find the story here.

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