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!

* * * * *
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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11 thoughts on “Farro Salad with Chicken and Summertime Herbs

  1. I was lucky enough to walk into work the other day and find a container of this salad waiting for me on my desk. It was tasty! Light and clean tasting. This was the first time I had farro, but it won’t be the last! To me, farro tastes like what I imagine puffed wheat cereal would taste like before it’s turned into cereal. It has a light flavor and a nice, chewy texture—and it’s quite filling!

    • When I was looking to make a recipe with farro two weeks ago I could not find it in any grocery store. I did finally find it in a health food store in the bulk section. I have yet to see farro packaged and sold in the grain section of the supermarket. At least that is my experience.

    • Brooke is right, Linda. I’ve only seen it in the bulk section at the coop, I haven’t seen it in the grocery store yet. If you have a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or a coop they might carry it or they may be able to special order it for you. Maybe even a specialty Italian market. That said, it was at least six or seven years ago that I saw my first farro recipe and it was only just last year that I finally saw it in Vermont! But with all these recipes in magazines, I think it’s becoming more and more popular! 🙂

  2. This is my kind of supper on a hot day. I finally got myself a basil plant and am loving plucking leaves for whatever. I adore the flavor of basil.

    Thanks for the tribute to Marion Cunningham. I would never have known because even though I saw notice of her death, I never went to read about who she was…

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