This quinoa salad has been my lifeline for the past month... and this just in: I'm still not sick of it!
Inspired by a salad from a restaurant, I was determined to make it myself at home. Simply determined. So the next day I went to my local market to get my hands on some farro, which I must say is quite expensive compared to other grains! But on the upside, it's delicious and has this amazing toothy quality that adds to the quinoa's soft almost rice-like texture. If you want to keep it low budget - I suggest trying barley instead (I plan on trying it myself soon).
Anyways, with all the fresh herbs and veggies, it's simply perfect. I had never tried farro before and was stunned at how much I loved it. The combination might not sound so appetizing to non-health freaks but I swear, everyone who has tried has loved it! The lemon-y dressing and French feta make it so irresistible and all of the textures keeps your taste buds guessing at each bite. This salad is equally amazing with some grilled shrimp on top!
Quinoa-Farro Salad with Grilled Lemon Chicken
Yields: 10 servings
For the chicken:
10 chicken tenders
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
For the salad:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup farro
2 large red bell peppers, seeds removed, sliced, cut into 1" pieces
5 Persian cucumbers, seeds removed, sliced into 1 cm pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup golden raisins, rehydrated in warm water
1 cup French feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
For the dressing:
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed dried mint
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. seasoned salt
To make the dressing, whisk together everything in a small bowl to blend and set aside in the refrigerator until needed. For the chicken, add the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Mix together and add the chicken. Stir well to coat, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Before grilling, allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Grill over a medium-high flame until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
To cook the quinoa, add the quinoa and 1 1/4 cups of water into a rice cooker. Cook using the 'white rice' setting. Once done, remove the quinoa and allow to cool to room temperature. While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large sauce pot over high heat. Add the farro and 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low to a simmer. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes until tender. If there is excess water remaining, drain the farro and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled grains, all of the vegetables and drained, re-hydrated raisins. Mix to combine. If not serving immediately at this point, you can refrigerate this mixture until ready to eat, it usually keeps in my refrigerator for up to a week. When ready to serve, toss in the feta cheese and enough dressing to lightly coat. Eat cold or at room temperature and serve with the warm chicken.