Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pesto Farro Salad With Broccoli And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Before heading to San Diego last Friday for an impromptu getaway, I packed the car with a picnic basket, as I often do. There is nothing more enjoyable than kicking off a relaxing, scenic getaway with the simple gesture of an al fresco lunch.

En route we stopped at a park, grabbed a picnic table overlooking the ocean and enjoyed a trio of salads I threw together at the last minute. The weather was ideal - mid to high 70's with a cool ocean breeze and the bluest of skies. The sight of rhythmic waves and an empty beach afforded us a rare dose of solitude - a true gift I am guessing we all relish.  And then there were the salads -  they provided us the excuse to stop {and see, taste, hear and smell our beautiful surroundings} and they provided the perfect source of energy we needed for the adventures that lied ahead. What is it about time off in a new zip code, nourishment and fresh air? The combination of these three things instantly reprograms the mindset.  Suddenly the stuff of life that we often fret about simply vanishes.

So back to the salads. The genesis of each was what was sitting in my refrigerator. With leftover pesto {which was paired with whole grain pasta and crushed red pepper earlier in the week} and leftover blanched broccoli {swimsuit season is on my mind} I made a complete salad by adding in farro, wilted spinach and for a vibrant, sweet kick - sun dried tomatoes . Of the three salads this was our favorite and I knew I would be making it again soon. Four days later was a little earlier than planned but I blame that on my acquisition of Bitchin' Sauces  - an obsession I confessed to on Monday.

Pesto Farro Salad With Broccoli And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

1 c farro
2 c broccoli florets, cut into small, bite size pieces
1 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 c baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
Pesto Bitchin' Sauce {or you can substitute traditional pesto - pesto recipe here}
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Start off by re-hydrating the sun dried tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and add boiling water - enough to cover the tomatoes. Let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place the tomatoes in between paper towels. Squeeze excess liquid out and slice the tomatoes into slivers.  Set aside.

Combine farro and 2 c + 1/2 c water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the farro is tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain excess water and set aside.

While the farro is cooking, blanch the broccoli by placing it in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water. Drain and set aside.

Saute olive oil, garlic, onion and a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to coat. Continue stirring frequently until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Combine farro, broccoli, spinach and onion, sun-dried tomatoes and desired amount of pesto in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to a serving platter.

Serves  4 as a side.

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Source: Jill Crusenberry

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