A week ago I took a cooking class at Sur La Table in Old Orchard, Evanston. The class I took was called Eating Well: Healthy & Flavorful, and I learned a lot!
First off, this was quite an experience. It was so nice to meet new people, eat good food and learn something new! The Chef was very helpful, answering questions and instructive in what we were cooking. I left the class with some new cutting skills, a new recipe to try out and especially, I left with a full and satisfied stomach.
I wanted to share one of my favorite things we made. This was our appetizer but it would definitely suit for lunch as well. We made a Farro Salad with Roasted Chicken and Beet Green Pesto. Farro is an ancient variety of whole wheat. It is considered a healthy whole grain and is excellent in salads, soups and substituted for rice or pasta in many main dishes.
This recipe makes for 4-6 servings and takes about an hour. It is a perfect dish to prepare the day before or keep as leftovers because you want everything to be cold and the pesto will get tastier with time.
- 1 Cup Italian farro, pearled or semi-pearled
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 2 Tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
- 1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and butterflied
- Fresh lemon juice
- 1 Pint grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
- 3 Cups baby spinach, arugula or hearty green, stemmed
- 1/2 Cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Beet Green Pesto:
- 1/4 Cup walnuts
- 1 1/2 Cups chopped beet greens (from 1 bunch beets)
- 1 Small garlic clove, peeled
- 1/3 Cup basil leaves
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
- 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Cup grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a medium saucepan filled halfway with water over high heat and bring to boil. Generously season water with salt. Add farro, lower the temp. to medium and simmer until tender, 20-30 min. Drain the farro, ensuring all excess water is removed. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside to cool.
In a food processor, add walnuts, beet greens, garlic, basil, lemon zest and juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; pulse until finely chopped. Pour in oil while pulsing to combine. Add parmesan and continue to pulse until well combined. Set aside.
Arrange chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned and cooked through, 12-15 min. Let cool to room temp. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into bitesize pieces, or pull apart with a fork or another preferred utensil to create strings of chicken.
Add roasted chicken to the cooled farro. Add pesto and mix thoroughly. Fold in tomatoes and greens. Taste and adjust with seasoning, top it off with grated parmesan, and serve!
Here’s a link to Sur La Table’s website. After participating in any of their cooking classes, everyone gets 10% off on all of their Sur La Table purchases.