It's the peak of summer, and produce is at an all time high - along with the temperature. Summer salads are the perfect way to maximize your nutritional intake with fresh and crunchy foods and minimize your oven usage. When making salads as mains, I always try to ensure that protein, fat, and fiber are utilized to provide satiation, optimal nutrition, and a range of textures and flavors. For this summertime salad, toasted pecans, feta, and farro are the sources of protein. Farro, along with all the vegetables and cherries, contain fiber, and the nuts, cheese, and olive oil provide fat to keep you full and to assist in the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins. Keep cool and calm with this peppery arugula, farro, and dark cherry summertime salad.
I am typically not a fruit in my salad type of gal, but summer produce tends to welcomes the use of fruit in a variety of ways. Tart or sweet cherries would work well here and not only provide flavor and texture, but also a bounty of nutrients. Cherries are one of the few foods containing melatonin, which can assist with lulling you into a smooth slumber. Cherries are also great for muscle recovery and help to ease inflammation caused by exercise. Lastly, cherries are loaded with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can lead to cancer, wrinkles, brain fog, and heart disease. More reasons to enjoy your summer cherries.
arugula, farro, and dark cherry salad
- 1 cup farro, rinsed, soaked for 8 hours (optional)
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups dark cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 1/2 cup sheep milk feta, crumbled
- 1 large cucumber, diced into 1/4" pieces
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- In a medium sized pot, bring 4 cups water and 1 cup farro to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- In a large serving bowl, whisk together the dijon mustard, lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a few grinds of black pepper. Dip a piece of arugula into the dressing to taste, and adjust acid or oil if needed.
- Add the red onion and farro to the dressing and toss to coat. The warm grain will absorb the the dressing better and, once added, will also slightly wilt the arugula.
- Fold in the cherries, pecans, arugula, feta, and cucumbers. Serve immediately and enjoy.