Artichoke Pesto Farro Salad

The Hubby and I have committed to eating better this summer.  So, I looked at my recipes for summer salads and noticed that many of them are rather calorie laden.  Pasta salads are so delicious but could the pasta be replaced with something lighter and healthier?  After looking into some grains, I thought I’d try my Pasta Pesto and Pea salad recipe with a few changes beginning with a trade out for the pasta.  I thought I’d try farro.  I substituted garbanzo beans for the peas, added artichoke hearts (because we both love them) and added grape tomatoes for color. The salad turned out delicious and Hubby says I can make it again (always a sign that the new recipe is a hit).  If he’s trying to be nice and not crush my experimental attempt, he’ll just say, “it was good but you don’t have to make it again for me”.  Nice way of saying, YUCK!  Looking at this recipe, it was really more inspired by my Pasta Pesto Pea Salad not a close facsimile; more like a total revamp.  Though tasty enough for a good dinner with left overs for lunch the next day.

Farro is an ancient grain similar to wheatberries in look and taste.  Most often found in Italian recipes for soups and salads it is cooked similar to all grains.  To give it more flavor, I like it cooked in broth but water works well also.  In this salad I spread the hot cooked farro on a rimmed baking sheet to cool it faster and dry it a bit.  Serve this salad with a grilled fish or chicken for a tasty light summer dinner.

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Artichoke, Pesto and Farro Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups whole farro, rinsed
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 – 6 ounce jar pesto
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 – 12 ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large pot bring 4 quarts of water to boil.  Add farro and 1 teaspoon salt.  Return to slow boil and cook till grains are tender about 20 – 30 minutes.  Drain farro, and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Let cool about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain artichoke hearts and cut in quarters from stem to tip and set aside.
  3. Wash and dry grape tomatoes and cut across on an angle.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together pesto and Greek yogurt till smooth.
  5. Add cooled farro, cut tomatoes, garbanzo beans and cut artichoke hearts.
  6. Toss together, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chill before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

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