1 year ago

Grilled Pesto Chicken Farro Salad

This hearty, flavorful side dish from Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate is a wonderful addition to any picnic or barbecue.

I’m pretty sure the week after the big April snowstorm when it was 60 degrees and all 15 inches of snow had melted, everyone in the Twin Cities was in a good mood. It’s funny how weather can do that to you. I think we all felt like we deserved that weather, especially after enduring such a long winter!

It’s also funny how it didn’t take long for some people to forget about how good the warmth felt and start complaining about it. Take, for example, the man who I passed while on a walk who said, “Beautiful day! We really could use some rain, though.” Or the woman in my yoga class who said she hoped it wasn’t too hot next week because she really wanted to get some yard work done.

Wait, what? Can we all just hang on one hot second and just enjoy the fact that it’s not gray, cold and snowy out? We can go outside without a coat on. We can open up the windows and let fresh air into our homes. We can do yard work regardless of how warm it is. Let that sun beat on my (sunscreened) shoulders, please and thank you.  

One of my absolute favorite things about this weather is that it means it’s grilling season! I can watch my kids play out in the backyard all while cooking dinner. It’s glorious. The very first thing I made this grilling season was this Grilled Pesto Chicken Farro Salad.  

If you’ve never cooked with farro, I think it’s time to give it a try! It’s a type of ancient grain that is high in fiber, hearty, and while it has a slight nutty taste, it takes on whatever flavors you add to it. It worked really well in this salad with the chickpeas, grilled vegetables and chicken, and of course the pesto.

Here’s the great thing about this farro salad. You can make the pesto farro ahead of time and do all of the grilling at the last minute. This means you can be outside grilling, enjoying the beautiful weather (don’t you dare complain about it), instead of being back and forth between the kitchen and grill.

This salad was hearty enough for a healthy dinner but was also great leftover for lunch the next day. I can’t wait to make it again with fresh pesto made with basil from my garden!  

Grilled Pesto Chicken Farro Salad

4-6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
2 cups dry semi-pearled farro
2 chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchinis, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 summer squash, cut into ¼-inch rounds
8 ounces pesto
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans

Directions

  1. Combine farro and 6 cups of water in a medium pot.
  2. Bring it a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, until soft. If there is still water, drain it off like you would pasta. 

While farro is cooking, you can prep/grill the chicken and vegetables:

  1. Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss zucchini and summer squash with 2 tablespoons of pesto.  
  3. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Place chicken breasts and zucchini/squash on grill.  
  5. Cook zucchini and summer squash 2-3 minutes on each side.  
  6. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side. I always use a meat thermometer to ensure I don’t over or undercook my meat. Chicken should be cooked to 165 F.    
  7. In a large bowl add farro and chickpeas. Add remaining pesto and toss to combine.
  8. Add zucchini, summer squash and chicken and gently toss. Serve and enjoy!