This post is sponsored by American Pecans.
Lately none of us has access to all the fresh ingredients we used to (remember when you’d run to the market for a forgotten item just…anytime? Those were the days.) But maybe the upside to this reliance on non-perishable pantry staples, for me and my family at least, has been that we’ve gotten more creative in the kitchen, more intentional about meal planning, and certainly less wasteful. We’ve also begun eating a lot more plant-based meals, which has been wonderful. I’m always looking for new ways to add great flavor and nutrition to our meals, and I think it’s safe to say that quarantine has made me reexamine the value of all those nonperishables that I used to overlook—all the grains, canned beans and veggies, jarred sauces, nuts…etc.
This easy and convenient farro salad is one of the delicious creations to come out of my quarantine kitchen and let me tell you, I’ll be making it long after social distancing ends. It’s made with shelf-stable ingredients like whole grain farro, jarred artichoke hearts (or canned), and jarred basil pesto, long-lasting Parmesan cheese, and shelled pecans, which add not only a delicious crunch but also protein, fiber, good fats* and essential minerals (and they stay fresher longer in the refrigerator or freezer)!
The only fresh ingredients in the recipe are grape tomatoes and fresh parsley, but you could skip one or both and the flavor would still be fabulous.
That said, grape tomatoes add a juicy pop of sweetness that I find irresistible. The pesto—whether you use jarred (as recommended for ease) or make your own—gives the chewy farro grains a savory, herby depth. Parmesan shavings lend sharpness and add to the overall richness. And then there are the warm, toasty pecans, the perfect addition to this savory salad. This versatile ingredient provides sweet, nutty flavor and great crunchy texture to every bite. They also offer plant-based protein and are a good source of fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer making this a perfect side dish – or even a main! It was so delicious that we ate the whole thing within 24 hours.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Farro with Pesto, Tomatoes and Pecans
- ½ cup pecan halves
- 1 cup farro, rinsed
- ⅓ cup basil pesto, store bought or homemade
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped (from a jar or can, packed in water)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into quarters (½ of a pint)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scatter the pecan halves on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool enough to handle, then chop them coarsely.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the farro with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grains are tender but still chewy, about 20 minutes. Drain off the excess water and fluff the farro with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in the pesto to coat all of the grains. Stir in the Parmesan, artichokes, tomatoes, and toasted pecans. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.