This recipe came about when I was dead tired, had a teething non-sleeping baby and was so hungry I could barely sling a sentence together. All requirements for a good recipe, no? 😉 The food requirements were easy, had to have quick cooking (or non-cooking) early Summer vegetables and a bunch of grains already made. Tad-da! Dinner in under 20 minutes with this (early) Summer Vegetable Grain Salad.
Any grain will work here. I use Farro, as I like the weight of it (heavier) and the depth of flavour (subtle nutty undertones) but rice, sweet berries, quinoa, barley, etc. will all work. For vegetables I used shallots, asparagus, yellow zucchini and peas. Any vegetable that grows in the summer will work. I topped the bowl with some garlic scented ricotta (1/2 tsp of minced garlic in 1 cup of ricotta) and sprinkled with some fresh herbs for the win.
The dish is hearty enough to make quick work of a Meatless Monday dinner. It will also keep extremely well at room temperature making it an ideal candidate for a picnic supper or prepped in advance of a camping weekend. I know I’m hoping for a few recipes like this one to keep in my back pocket for those beach days ahead. As the season moves on, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onion would be excellent and delicious substitutions, which would require zero cooking. Keep the veg, grains, and a light vinaigrette separate until ready to serve then gently toss together.
4 cups cooked grains, such as rice, farro, barley, quinoa, etc.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1//2 lbs asparagus, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
1 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup ricotta or crumbled feta
1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 1/2 clove)
4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, cilantro, etc.
salt and pepper
In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add peas, asparagus, zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until just beginning to soften. Add lemon juice and farro. Toss until farro and vegetables are mixed and coated with lemon juice.
Meanwhile, mixed together ricotta and garlic. Season lightly with salta and pepper.
Top farro and vegetables with ricotta mixture and chopped herbs.