I know it’s summer when my food brain can’t dream beyond salads. Or grilling. Or grilled salads. Yes, indeed, summer is here and I am in the zone–let’s make something tasty.
To pass as dinner, a salad has got to have a lot going on: contrasting textures, bold flavors, vibrant colors. You want it to taste light and summery but be filling and satisfying enough to keep you from devouring a pint of ice cream later in the evening. Ideally, it’s a salad that packs well so you can whisk it off to a park for an impromptu picnic or bring it to a potluck and be the girl/guy who brought that salad.
It’s a tall order, but this salad is up for a challenge. It’s got it’s bases covered–a hearty, nutty mix of farro and chickpeas tossed with tons of grilled zucchini and red onions, dressed for summer with fresh oregano from the garden, lemon, and red pepper. The addition of grilled shrimp skewers transform it from “lunchbox” to “maybe we should open a bottle of wine”. Perfect.
Light the grill and get your farro cooking. We’ll have dinner put together in no time.
Skewer your shrimp, drizzle them with olive oil, dust with lemon zest, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Pop them in the fridge for a mini-marinade while you prep the veggies. Slice zucchini lengthwise and cut a red onion into thick slices. Give them the same treatment as you gave the shrimp, then head outside to put everything on the grill.
Grill the vegetables until they’re tender inside, slightly charred and totally irresistible on the outside. The shrimp will cook up quickly, just a couple of minutes until they turn pink. I wish every meat and fish gave you such a clear indication of doneness.
The farro should be ready by now. Put it in a big bowl along with a can of chickpeas. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Chop the grilled onions and zucchini and throw them in the bowl along with torn oregano. Toss, season, and grab a fork. Happy summer eating!
- 1 c. Farro, rinsed
- ½# Shrimp (I used 40-50 count shrimp), peeled and deveined
- 1 Red Onion, sliced into ¼-1/2 in. rounds
- 3 small-medium Zucchini, sliced lengthwise, ¼ in. thick
- 1 can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 sprigs Fresh Oregano, torn
- zest and juice from 1 Lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Light your grill. I use a charcoal Weber and made a pretty hot, even fire.
- Combine the farro with 2 c. water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, divide the shrimp between 4 skewers. You should have 5-6 shrimp per skewer. Place on a rimmed plate, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, red pepper flakes to taste, and the zest from about ½ of the lemon. Place in the refrigerator while you prep the vegetables.
- Drizzle the sliced red onion and zucchini with olive oil, and season as you did with the shrimp with the remaining lemon zest, salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Grill the shrimp and vegetables. The vegetables will take a few minutes per side to get tender inside and a bit charred on the outside. The shrimp take only 1-2 minutes per side, they're done as soon as they turn pink and are no longer translucent.
- Combine the farro with the chickpeas. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice (1/4-1/2 the lemon should be plenty), season with salt and pepper. Chop the grilled zucchini crosswise into bite-sized pieces and roughly chop the red onion. Add the chopped vegetables and torn oregano and toss.
- Divide salad between dinner plates and serve with a shrimp skewer. Alternatively, remove the shrimp from the skewers and toss with the rest of the salad.