Farro with arugula pesto

Here is my quick and easy recipe for farro with arugula pesto dressing. It can be served warm or chilled, as a side dish or as a salad. Farro is the grain of a type of wheat, and there seems to be a bit of controversy over what type of wheat.

Served as koliva, farro is sweetened with powdered sugar, mixed with pomegranate seeds, and sesame seeds. It is decorated with the Sign of the Cross in little silver candies, blessed and given to parishioners after Greek memorial services to symbolize the cycle of eternal life.

Farro ingredients

I use organic Italian pearled farro that I buy at Costco. You should rinse the farro and also let it soak in fresh water for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

TIP: use a fine mesh colander when you are soaking it. This makes transferring it into the pot of water much simpler. Using 2 1/2 to 3 cups of salted water and 1 cup of farro, bring it to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes until al dente or until the desired level of chewy-ness. Usually, there are cooking instructions on the packaging.

Farro soaking

My arugula pesto dressing is simple. I use arugula instead of basil or parsley because it has a wonderful peppery taste. I whiz 3 large garlic cloves, 1/2 of a cup of EVOO and 1/2 of a cup of lemon juice in my mini processor, (it’s an attachment to my hand blender) and salt and pepper to taste. You can also use a mortar and pestle if you want a little exercise. (Yianni gave me the small marble one in the photo of the ingredients above.)

Arugual pesto for farro

Farro is very versatile. I have used it in place of rice or quinoa many times. Here I used it with lentils; cooked with onions, carrots, Swiss chard and lots of lemon.

Farro and lentils

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Tuna Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Basil

Tuna Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Basil

This is a recipe I adapted from Sur la table’s Tuna Tabbouleh with Tomato and Basil. I used quinoa instead of bulgur, left out the shredded carrot and used tuna packed in water instead of tuna packed in olive oil. Having tested their recipe at work**, I can vouch that both are delicious and very easy to make. I doubled the recipe in the photo above. It keeps nicely in the fridge and travels well for lunch or as a dish to bring to a pot-luck. Enjoy! And as always, let me know if you make it and if you liked it.

Tuna Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Basil
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup of Quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6 scallions, white portion only
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 [6 oz] can of tuna
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small saucepan combine quinoa and water
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat to low
  4. Cook covered approx. 10-15 minutes or until water has been absorbed
  5. Set quinoa aside to cool
  6. In a separate bowl, combine tuna, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  7. Once quinoa is cool, add scallions, cucumber, parsley, basil and cherry tomatoes
  8. Mix the tuna mixture gently into the quinoa mixture
  9. Season with salt and pepper

** ICYMI I work at Sur la table Cooking School.