While I love each and every recipe that I post, I must say that the ones I create entirely in my mind, with ingredients grown in my garden are my most favorite. When I can incorporate some personal pieces into the photos, even better! In this post, the ceramic dishes in the photos are pieces my son made in class last year and the weathered wood is a picnic table my husband made years ago.
I have been making versions of this salad all summer long, but with the tomatoes and cucumbers in abundance, that seemed like a winning combination. Chickpeas add a nice texture a healthy dose of fiber:And yes there must always be cheese! With cucumbers and mint in the dish, that says “Greek” to me, so feta was the logical choice.
The one ingredient that may throw you a bit is the farro. This very ancient grain has enjoyed a renaissance here in the U.S. thanks to the focus on whole grains. It’s deliciously nutty and has a nice bite to it. While it may not have the same kind of name recognition as “quinoa,” it’s made its way to Trader Joe’s lineup which means fame and fortune are not far behind. Note that TJ’s farro is a “quick cook” variety (ready in just 15 minutes!) Other brands and types of farro grains may take longer.
As with most grain salads, this can be made ahead and held at room temperature (without the cheese) for up to two hours. Just toss the cheese in before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for several days and make a wonderful lunch or side dish. Finally, if you’re craving more protein than just the cheese, feel free to toss in some grilled chicken strips or shrimp or whatever you have on hand.
This one has Dinner Is Served’s name written all over it. Enjoy!
Farro Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Feta
- 1 cup quick cooking faro
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (seeded)
- 1 cup diced fresh cucumber (peeled and seeded)
- 1 cup drained chick peas (aka garbanzo beans)
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBS chopped fresh mint
- 2 TBS sherry vinegar
- 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
Cook farro according to package directions (for Trader Joe’s brand, simmer in 2 cups lightly salted water, covered, for ten minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Drain excess water).
After farro has cooked, place on a sheet pan or in a large bowl to cool down to room temperature. While farro is cooling, make sherry vinaigrette by whisking sherry vinegar and olive oil in a bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside.
Combine the farro with the tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, chick peas, fresh herbs and feta cheese (if serving right away). Toss gently. Drizzle just enough of the dressing to flavor the salad but not drown it. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Yields: About 3 people as a meatless main, 4-5 as a side dish