Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cold Farro Salad with Vegetables and Chicken in a Mint Yogurt Sauce

Ugh, we are not happy with this heat wave going on here.  While I enjoy spring, I have a love/hate relationship with summer.  I grew up in a desert climate so I'm fine with high heat but add in a ton of humidity and having to commute in hot metro stations with no moving air, and I become a grumpy, sweaty mess.  The girls also don't love it as they start panting and snorting quickly on our walks and the humidity does a number on Sunny's deep-set wrinkle.  Anyways, this was my long intro to say that when the temperatures and humidity go up, my desire for cold yet satisfying meals goes up as well.  I found this cold farro salad on one of my favorite food blogs theKitchn but it only had leeks and peas and I wanted to add some more veggies, color, and meat so I kinda just winged it.  Below is the recipe I used for the dish in these photos but I'm sure you can swap, add, subtract a number of ingredients depending on your preferences.  I wasn't expecting to like this dish as much as I did.  I made this week a farro week for my meals to simplify things and I ended up liking this dish more than Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Fontina, and Cheese!  And since this is best served cold, I foresee myself making this often during the summer!

Servings: Original recipe said serves 4-6 but this is a 2 mealer for me!

1 - 1 1/2 cups farro (original recipe calls for 1 cup but Trader Joe's has 1 1/2 cup 10 minute bags)
2 leeks, halved and then chopped into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Trader Joe's nonfat version)
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup shredded chicken
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
5 oz baby bella mushrooms, cut into small chunks
1 zucchini, chopped (mine is in large chunks but that's because I was too lazy to cut it smaller)
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook 1 - 1 1/2 cups farro according to instructions.  Rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray or olive oil.  Cook 2 chopped leeks, 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, 5 ounces chopped mushrooms, and 1 chopped zucchini for a few minutes.  You want the leeks to soften but you don't want the other vegetables to get too soggy.  If you want crisper zucchini then I'd recommend adding them for the last minute or two then.
  • If you are using fresh peas or forgot to thaw them (like I did), then blanch them by adding them to a pot of boiling water for about a minute until they're bright green and then move the peas to an ice bath to cool.
  • In a large bowl whisk together 2 tbsps olive oil, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, juice from a lemon, and 1 tsp of lemon zest.
  • Add to the bowl the cooled farro, peas, sauted vegetables, and 1tbsp chopped mint.  Toss until everything is coated.
  • Add salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
  • You can serve this warm but I prefer it cold and it keeps well in the fridge.
Rosy's face in the photo below just kills me!
Spot the pug?
And don't forget to give your pugs a teeny lick of yogurt!
The pictures above show the farro salad just after I made it but as I mentioned before, I like it best cold.  Below is when I had it for dinner the next two days.
"What's in that bowl?!  Something delicious for us?!"  (Sorry Rosy, not for you!) 
Persistent lil pugs!
Adapted from theKitchn.

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