I get more excited about lunch during summer time.
Life is just a little more relaxed, so I have more time to put things together, and fresh veggies abound. There's no reason not to take the time to make a colorful, healthy, filling lunch.
This hearty lunch salad features my new favorite grain, farro.
I think of farro as a sort of cross between brown rice and orzo. It's satisfyingly chewy and filling. I love it in salads like this, but I've also used it in place of rice in a casserole, and I had it at brunch this weekend topped with onions, gruyere, swiss chard, and poached eggs.
There are several different types of farro, so you'll want to be sure to read the directions for how to prepare it. Some varieties require soaking overnight, but my directions below are for the quick-cooking variety.
In many ways, this recipe is not surprising. You already know I love avocado in salads. (See here, here, here, here, and here.) You also know I especially love feta and avocado in salads. (See here and here.) However, the addition of the roasted red peppers and chewy farro makes this salad unique, and all the flavors and textures here--> lunchtime win.
Also, a note about co-worker lunch judging. You know it happens. If you're lucky enough to have a lunch break and to be able to share it with your co-workers or friends, you know what I'm talking about. As everyone is pulling out their packed lunches, you scope each of them out--perhaps with some judgment, jealousy, or just plain interest and inspiration. I've gotten a lot of great lunch ideas by stealing them from friends and co-workers.
Anyway, you may experience some co-worker lunch-judging with this recipe. Though the colors are beautiful when all of the ingredients are separate, once you combine them, the spinach pesto makes everything green. Very green.
So yes, your co-workers may make fun of you when you pull out this salad, but offer them a bite and their judgment will turn to envy. I promise!
Farro Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Avocado & Spinach Pesto
1 cup farro
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 ripe avocado, cubed
2 red peppers
4 ounces fresh spinach
1 clove garlic
juice from half a lemon
salt & peper
Preheat oven to 450. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, add 1 cup faro and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain any excess water and let cool, rinsing with cold water if necessary.
Cut red peppers into large slices and place on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, using hands to evenly distribute oil and spices. Arrange peppers with outer edges facing down. Roast at 450 for 10 minutes, then flip over, and roast for another 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
In a food processor, combine spinach, lemon juice, garlic, and 3-4 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl combine crumbled feta, avocado, cooled farro and red peppers, and spinach pesto. Toss to combine, adding additional salt and pepper if needed.
- If you don't want to break out the food processor, or you want to avoid the strange green hue of this dish, just chop the spinach up finely and throw it in. Then make a simple dressing with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.