Farro Primavera

Farro Primavera Salad with Basil Pesto

Grains, especially whole grains, are an essential part of a healthy diet. Naturally low in fat, grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals making them a healthy option for our diets.

Whole grains contain an abundance of nutrients and fiber which contribute to a healthy, balanced diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains. But most of the grains we Americans eat are refined which means that the bran and endosperm have been removed.  Studies have shown that working healthy whole grains into your diet can help prevent or reverse some health problems.

It’s easy and delicious to incorporate healthier grains into your diet by including salads made with brown, red, black and wild rice, amaranth, farro, barley and quinoa. Heinen’s has made it easy for you with All Natural blends of these grains and recipes you need to help get you started on the road to better health and delicious dinners. Look for Aztec Blend™, Whole Grain 5 Blend™, Red Quinoa, Mountain Red Blend™, Farro, Black Pearl Medley® and Golden Jewel Blend® for a quick start to tasty whole grain side dishes and main course dinners.

Farro Primavera with Basil Pesto

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Hands on time: 30 minutes

It couldn’t be simpler to pull this healthy, meatless, one-pan dinner together. Did I say healthy? An ancient grain, farro is minimally processed and quite chewy. A quarter cup has a hefty amount of protein, fiber and micronutrients compared to other grains and provides 10 different vitamins and minerals . But enough of the healthy stuff. You’ll love how the pesto makes a creamy, dreamy basil flecked sauce for carrots, parsnips, celery root, grape tomatoes and peas interspersed with filling grain. Primavera is Italian for spring, but this dish is delish 12 months of the year.

It’s that easy: You’ve probably seen celery root at the grocery store and wondered what to do with it. It has a light celery flavor andlooks like a brown, dirty, knobby round with lots of squiggly little roots growing out in all directions. I find it easiest to quarter it and then peel it and cut it down into tiny cubes for this dish or into matchsticks or larger cubes for soups and stews.

Heinen's Farro
Heinen’s Farro
An ancient strain of cultivated wheat.


6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt plus more
3/4 cup Heinen’s farro, rinsed
1 carrot, diced into 1/2-in cubes
1 parsnip, diced into 1/2-in cubes
1/2 small celery root, diced into 1/2-in cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, diced
18 grape tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable broth, chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup basil pesto, homemade or purchased
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
Red pepper flake (optional)


Bring 6 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat and add the salt and faro. Return the pot to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes. (To save time I cut the vegetables up while the faro cooks.) Bring the heat back up to medium high and add the diced carrot, parsnip and celery root and cook another 5 minutes or until the grain and veggies are tender. Taste to check. Dump them into a strainer in the sink.

Return the empty pot to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot and cook it until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and toss them to heat them up for a minute but don’t let them soften or break down. Return the grain mixture to the pan along with the broth , butter, pesto and peas and toss to warm up and combine the flavors. Taste for seasoning adding more salt, pepper or red pepper flake as needed. Serve hot. Eat slow.

In the glass: I’d love to splurge here with a Ridge Chardonnay as this dinner is certainly worth an expensive bottle. If that’s too spendy, try a Frog’s Leap Chardonnay for much less.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 to 6 as a side.

Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at ravenouskitchen.com where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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