Roasted Grape Farro Salad

I initially made this recipe last summer when we got back from our road trip down the Oregon coast. It was inspired by a meal we had at the end of the trip, in the airport, of all places! I decided to revisit it this week after being inspired by a recent trip to Italy and a stop at the Kalamazoo Farmer's Market this past weekend. 

I couldn't resist stocking up on some arugula from Blue Dog Family Farm at the farmer's market. The greens Blue Dog  grows are outta this world! Since there isn't anything particularly fancy about this dish, it is important to get good quality ingredients. 

The Italy inspiration for this dish comes from letting the fresh, in season flavors of the ingredients shine. One of the main flavors in this salad is arugula, or "rocket" as they called it in Italy. Arugula is a peppery green that is at its prime in the spring and summer. Some of the spicy notes could be because it is related to radishes, mustard, and watercress. I like it best when eaten raw in a salad or used as a topping on pizza. It is also great when made into a pesto (as it is in this recipe), braised, sautéed, or wilted. Arugula contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and calcium. It's flavor combined with it's nutritional value can't be beat!

I definitely gained a lot of inspiration to recreate some amazing food we had on our trip and I plan to share with you in the near future. Believe it or not, we actually got tired of eating homemade pasta and amazing pizza...now that a week has passed, my cravings for it are coming in strong so stay tuned ;) In the meantime, I bring you this Roasted Grape Farro Salad. 

This salad is very versatile. You can enjoy it warm, room temp, or chilled. It works great served over fresh arugula or as a side dish. 

Roasted Grape Farro Salad

Makes about 4 cups

For the Grapes:

3 cups red seedless grapes, detached from stems

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the Pesto:

1 cup arugula, tightly packed

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

For the rest:

8 oz farro

Juice of half a lemon, plus more for serving

1/2-1  tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped (to toast a small amount of pine nuts, place in a non stick skillet over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until grapes start to burst and release some of the juice.

2. While the grapes are roasting, make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse together arugula, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste. Scrape down the sides. With the food processor running, gradually add olive oil until pesto reaches a smooth consistency. Set aside. 

3. Cook farro by adding it to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In a large bowl, combine farro, roasted grapes along with accumulated juices , arugula pesto, and pecans. Toss with lemon  juice and olive oil. Serve with additional lemon juice, if desired.