The Greenest Ever Grain Salad You Should Take to Every Barbecue

by 
Megan Litt
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Photo by 
Jessicarobyn Keyser
August 18, 2022

I’m all for excessive snacking outdoors on a summer day. Give me a bottomless burgers and dogs barbecue with all the buttery corn on the cob and watermelon. I’ll take park days filled with cheese and crackers, chips and guac, and beer. Bring on the sprawling beach picnics of Italian heroes, salt and vinegar chips, cherries, and frozen Snickers. And please, on the way home from each of these events, can we grab a heaping ice cream cone? Then let’s walk, sweat, swim, or dance until we’re hungry for more — that’s what summer’s for.

But there often comes a moment, in between those delightfully salty, fatty, rich, or sweet nibbles, when I wish there were something a little more fresh and sustaining to snack on. Something that would line my stomach and fuel me for even more noshing and fun in the sun. I’m talking about something with protein, fiber, and some refreshing vegetal crunch to boot. Enter: The Greenest Ever Grain Salad. 

I know, a green grain salad doesn’t sound like the sexiest thing to bring to the beach or the barbecue. But I am by no means a health-food-focused individual, so please trust that when I suggest such hearty, vitamin-packed summer fare, it’s because this dish is totally delicious and satisfying.

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In this salad, toothsome farro and crisp green beans get dressed in an herb-packed pesto, with toasted almonds and parm for added crunch and salty richness. It’s light, yet satiating enough to get you through long summer days. I recently brought a few deli containers of these green grains to a snacky beach day. My friends passed around the containers all afternoon and devoured it; then they begged me for the recipe.

 This salad is simple to bring together — the bulk of the cooking for this recipe consists of dunking things in one big pot of boiling water. It’s also endlessly riffable. You can add any vegetables that you love or have around. Think: fresh tomatoes, corn, zucchini, or broccoli. The salad lasts for days and only gets more delicious with time, so make a batch now and thank yourself later. Speaking from experience, your friends will thank you too. They may even ask you for the recipe, so here it is:

The Greenest Ever Grain Salad

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Serves 2-4

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz green beans

2 cups basil leaves

1.5-2 cups parsley leaves

1 bunch (about 1 ounce) chives

1 garlic clove

1 cup farro (or your preferred grain)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

3/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan, plus more for serving, if desired

 | 
 | 
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz green beans

2 cups basil leaves

1.5-2 cups parsley leaves

1 bunch (about 1 ounce) chives

1 garlic clove

1 cup farro (or your preferred grain)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

3/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan, plus more for serving, if desired

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz green beans

2 cups basil leaves

1.5-2 cups parsley leaves

1 bunch (about 1 ounce) chives

1 garlic clove

1 cup farro (or your preferred grain)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

3/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan, plus more for serving, if desired

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water generously with kosher salt. Prepare an ice bath (if you’re short on ice, a colander and some cold running water will work). Add the green beans to the water until they turn bright green and just start to lose their fibrous bite, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath just until chilled. Drain and then cut them into ¼-½ inch pieces. Set aside.

2. Add the farro to the pot of boiling water and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

3. Add the parsley, basil, and chives to a blender or a food processor along with the garlic clove, an ice cube, the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, several cracks of black pepper, the crushed red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup each of the almonds and parmesan. Blend until smooth while adding the olive oil in a steady stream to make a pesto. 

4. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the farro, green beans, pesto, almonds, and parmesan. Taste and add more salt, pepper, lemon, or cheese, tp taste. Enjoy immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days.