Roasted Summer Salad with Pesto

Lately I’ve been craving Fall- the clothes, the weather, and the warm comfort of Fall food. Some telltale signs of Summer’s conclusion have begun to crop up- the Gap is stocking its classic and perfectly-cut sweaters, I’m book-shopping for next week’s classes, and the berries are beginning to run dry at the farm market. However, temperatures have still been in the 80’s here, leaving me feeling like Fall will just never come.

Last night I wanted something warm and comforting, but with a lighter, more summery touch. Enter summer squash and cherry tomatoes! Tossed together with farro, this dish is delicious and filling, not to mention a nutritional goldmine. It’s my new go-to for weeknight dinners because I can prep the pesto ahead of time, and the rest will come together almost on its own. Plus you’ll have leftover pesto to spread the pesto love into the rest of your week(end)- when is that ever not good?

Roasted Tomato, Summer Squash and Farro (Salad)

by Elizabeth Austin

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: roast steam appetizer entree salad side gluten-free kosher low-carb low-sodium soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian kale tomatoes farro olive oil Christmas Halloween Hanukkah Passover Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur American fall summer winter spring

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side)

    For the salad:

    • 1 cup dry farro (or grain of choice)
    • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
    • 2 medium squash (I used yellow)
    • oil, for roasting

    For the pesto:

    • 2 tbsp. hemp seeds
    • 4 tbsp. almonds or walnuts
    • 1 cup of olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • two handfuls of filler greens (I used chard, but spinach, kale, or beet greens would all work well here!)
    • 4 cups of basil
    • pinch of sea salt

    Instructions

    For the veggies:

    First things first: preheat your oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment or non-stick mat.

    Chop the squash into bite-sized pieces. Toss with oil (I used sunflower, but olive or grapeseed would also work!) and spread over a rimmed baking sheet.

    Halve the cherry tomatoes. I got some adorable little guys from Shady Brook Farms- $3 for 2 pints! That’s a bargain. They’re gorgeous- varying shapes and colors. Real tomatoes.

    Toss in oil, and distribute over another baking sheet.

    Roast the squash and tomatoes for 30-40 minutes, watching closely.

    For the farro:

    Farro is one of my favorite grains. It is a lot like brown rice, but fluffier and more substantial- and it cooks more quickly! It is an ancient grain, cultivated by humans for over 5,000 years- historians actually claim that it was the very first grain ever domesticated by people in the Middle East!

    Aside from being versatile and delicious, it is also highly nutritious. A 1/4 cup of dry farro contains 5 g of dietary fiber and 7 g of protein, as well as 35 g of complex carbs to keep you fuller longer and sustain your body with a healthy source of energy. If you have not yet tried it, I recommend you pick some up on your next grocery trip. I buy mine in bulk from Whole Foods, but I have also seen it packaged at McCaffrey’s.

    To cook the farro, combine one cup of dry farro with two cups of water in a medium-sized sauce pan.

    Heat over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Try not to let it boil over…

    Whoops.

    Farro is ready when the water is absorbed and the farro is fluffy. It will look like brown rice, but…chubbier.

    While all of that is cooking, make your pesto!

    In a food processor, process walnuts and hempseeds for 30 seconds.

    Add olive oil, and process until smooth.

    Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and garlic. Process further.

    Add in the basil, greens, and salt, and process until a nice pesto-y consistency is reached. It should be pretty smooth, but still with a bit of separation because of the oil.

    *If you are using a blender, I would recommend processing the oil and nuts together, and continue on from there.

    The pesto can even be made ahead of time! Likewise, any extra will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

    Assemble your salad:

    When the farro is ready, fluff lightly with a fork and pour it into a large serving bowl.

    The veggies should be beautifully roasted by now…

    Add roasted tomatoes and squash, and toss to combine.

    Plate the salad and top with your desired amount of pesto.

    Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!

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    Somehow I only ate a single serving of this. I had other dishes going and I didn’t want to fill up on this and not leave room for anything else. I have a large bowl of leftovers in the fridge, and a generous helping of pesto- and I can say with absolute certainty that they will not be there tonight. It is 9:01 AM, and I am already looking forward to lunch.

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    3 thoughts on “Roasted Summer Salad with Pesto

    1. Pingback: MotheringMother: A Green Review. « Being Elizabeth

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