the healthy substitute for pasta salad

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the archenemy to those creamy pasta salads that you find conveniently between every other dish at potlucks. I’ve loathed Mr. Pasta Salad for years. He’s always creeping in and tempting me to oblivion (in which case, I most always give in). Today’s recipe comes courtesy of Weight Watchers and, beware, it’s something radically different — or, at least it was to me: Summer Vegetable and Farro Salad.

Summer Vegetable and Farro Salad
(Click here for cooking directions and nutritional information)

  • 3/4 cup(s) uncooked farro
  • 1/4 tsp table salt, for cooking farro
  • 2 cup(s) water
  • 2 medium corn on the cob, kernels removed (about 1 cup) – if not available, use frozen
  • 3/4 cup(s) uncooked zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup(s) fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup(s) reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup(s) dill, fresh, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp uncooked shallot(s), minced
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp table salt – for dressing
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground – for dressing
  • 2 medium plum tomato(es), diced (or about 1 cup diced ripe tomato)

First and foremost, let’s address the obvious: what in the world is Farro? Farro, to me, is reason that pasta is shaking in its boots due to this recipe. While it’s more of a grain and most would consider it more of a cousin to rice or couscous, I’m not going to swing that way. I really think it tastes like firmer pieces of pasta and was quite surprised by the result.

If you’re looking for something much lighter that definitely celebrates the freshness that is summer, do give this recipe a try! The farro may be a bit difficult to find in your supermarket; for me, it was located in the health food section on the bottom shelf, hanging out below the rice. It was very reasonably priced and I felt completely comfortable purchasing it, unlike with recipes that call for “gourmet-type” ingredients that make me cringe at the price. I hope that you find success with your farro, too!

Note that the recipe calls for uncooked zucchini and corn. I rebelled and cooked the corn, but left the zucchini raw. I’m also impatient, so I didn’t let the farro cool off for very long. In doing so, I believe it cooked the zucchini a tiny bit, which was nice. It was crisp, but not soggy. I nearly substituted the zucchini for cucumber while purchasing my ingredients, but I’m glad I didn’t. It would have made the salad far too soggy. As always, as shown above, I tend to randomly roughly chop vs. finely dice. Rest assured, you’re fine quickly whipping this up and throwing it in the fridge. No amount of precision required!

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