Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches Recipe

arugula and farro salad with peaches

Mr. Picky is my third child, my 10-year-old son. He is a perfect child in every way, however he is rather picky when it comes to food. I know some people think that Mr. Picky is not at all picky because he eats things like lentils and beans and salmon. True. But he won’t eat an unbelievable amount of other, basic things, like eggs, cheese, and most cooked vegetables. Mr. Picky thinks the name I gave him is funny and doesn’t want me to refer to him as anything else on my blog. And since I am not worried that he is picky, the name can stay for now.

Ripe, but firm peaches that smell fragrant

“Would Mr. Picky eat this?” That’s what many of my cooking class students will ask me when we are making something outside of the kid cuisine box, so to speak. Most people have a picky child and therefore struggle will meal planning and mealtime. I can get frustrated too, but in general I don’t sweat it because I truly believe that if I continue to provide a wide variety of nutritious whole foods on a regular basis, something will click one day and he will turn into a better eater. This is not a post about raising a healthful eater, but more to address how I make something like this delicious Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches and get my son to eat it. It’s called “deconstruction.”

I like to layer arugula then farro then peaches

I know what Mr. Picky won’t eat, in the case of this salad that would be vinaigrette, arugula and cheese. No problem. First I ask him if this is the day he would like to try the salad with vinaigrette. 90% of the time he says, “I’m not ready yet.” No problem. So I deconstruct the salad and give him a scoop of plain farro (it’s like brown rice, I tell him), almonds and peaches. If I have some romaine lettuce in the fridge, I’ll give him some of that, too.

shave the cheese with a vegetable peeler

Arugula is a peppery, almost a little spicy, green. I love it, but I didn’t when I was 10. But I just can’t see only making recipes that are Mr. Picky-approved. That would be cooking to the lowest common denominator and that’s never a good idea.

making dressing

I taught this salad last summer in my classes and just last week in Jenni Kayne’s Fourth of July class with The Chalkboard. This is the perfect salad for entertaining and I have even eaten a version of this for a lunch at home with my Everyday Salad Dressing #2. You don’t need the farro, but it does make the salad heartier which is helpful if you don’t want to eat the ribs or steak options at your BBQ. And if you are gluten-intolerant, unfortunately you can’t eat farro, but millet or quinoa would work well here.  In any case, everything can be prepped in advance so all you have to do is assemble at mealtime. I have also done a version of this salad with pitted cherries and Pecorino. I think nectarines or blackberries would also be amazing. For that matter, any stone fruit or berry would be perfect. Yay summer!

arugula and farro salad with peaches

arugula and farro salad with peaches

5.0 from 1 reviews
Arugula and Farro Salad with Peaches
Serves: 6
  • ¾ cup farro*
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 ounces arugula
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • ¼ cup chives, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • a sprinkle of chopped or sliced nuts, such as almonds or walnuts (I used Marcona almonds here)
  • a sprinkle of cheese, such as feta, gorgonzola or shaved Manchego, Parmesan or Pecorino (I used shaved Manchego here)
  1. Place farro in a medium saucepan with water to cover by at least three inches and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. If using right away, rinse with cold water to cool down.
  2. In a medium bowl or a glass jar with a fitted lid, combine all dressing ingredients.
  3. Place the arugula, farro, chives, and peaches in a serving bowl and drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat. Toss gently.
  4. Add chopped nuts and/or crumbled cheese, if desired.
*about 2 ¼ cups cooked


Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

Good gracious, I do believe Christmas is a mere seven days away.  I should probably get started on that box of holiday cards sitting next to my desk, what do you think?  I also have a couple of gifts to buy, but that hasn’t been occupying my thoughts as much as food.  Shocking, I know.  There is a lot of food planning that I have going on right now.  First off, United Airlines decided to cancel my 8:30 am flight (reasonable time) to NY and rebook us on a 6:14 am flight (unreasonable, horrible, why-bother-going-to-bed-at-all time.)  So I need to figure out breakfast and lunch for everyone and get that packed the night before.  Let me know if you have any suggestions otherwise I’m making kale salad with quinoa and a bunch of pumpkin muffins and that’s that.

I also need to plan 3 meals a day for the time we’re at my parents’ house.  My sisters come with their little ones and I turn into the culinary director for the week.  I adore my mother, but I don’t think I can handle hearing her ask me every day, “Now what do you want to do for lunch?” (or dinner)  And the last thing I want to do is head out to the market every day in chilly weather without a plan when I could be working on a puzzle and sipping hot tea while a huge pot of veggie chili simmers on the stove.  Ahhhhh……So my plan is to come up with the menu for the week and email my mother the grocery list and we’ll all be sitting pretty.

But the big decision before I leave is what should I bring for Christmas Eve dinner, the biggest potluck of the year?  It’s tricky since I arrive fairly close to the 24th and I don’t have too much prep time.  The other challenge is that I need to make enough to feed oh, about 80 people.  For years and years I brought dessert like cucidati, a Sicilian fig cookie, or gingerbread cake.  Easy enough.  But last year, I felt motivated to get some more veggies on the tables since 80% of the meal seems to revolve around fish of some sort.  So of course I decided to make Brussels Sprout Leaf Salad, one of my favorite salads ever.  Incredibly delicious, super healthful, so seasonal and really pretty.  BUT, probably the most ridiculous salad to make for EIGHTY PEOPLE.  Why?  Because you have to separate all the leaves, blanche them and spin them dry.  I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea.  Oh, wait.  Now I remember.  I thought my darling sisters and my lovely daughters would help me.  Ha.  Ha.  Are you picturing me sitting at the kitchen table for hours on December 23rd all by myself?  Cranky face.

So this year is going to be different.  I’m going to make an equally tasty brussels sprout salad, one that my husband and my daughters are crazy about, but not have to be a slave to the sprouts.  This salad debuted just this year on my Thanksgiving class menu and it has made several appearances at our dinner table.   It’s crunchy and kind of tart-sweet and you have no idea you’re eating brussels sprouts (not that there’s anything wrong with them.)  In fact, they are beyond nutritious and super delicious raw.  This salad even tastes great the next day for lunch boxes.  If you are dairy-free or vegan, feel free to leave out the manchego cheese.  By the same token, do have fun with this salad and substitute feta instead or add pomegranate seeds or your favorite nut in place of the sliced almonds.

Here’s my plan for bringing this to dinner on Monday night:

  • Sunday:  make dressing and refrigerate
  • Sunday:  wash, dry, trim and thinly slice Brussels sprouts and refrigerate
  • Sunday:  shred manchego cheese (I do this on a box grater) and refrigerate
  • Monday afternoon:  cut apples and store in cold water
  • Just before serving:  drain apples and add to sprouts, cheese and almonds.  Dress with vinaigrette and serve.

Ooops.  Forgot one more thing.  Sunday:  Make tea and start 1000 piece puzzle.  Stay in pajamas as desired.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
  • 1 large crisp apple, cored and cut into julienne
  • ⅓ pound of Manchego cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized
  • ½ small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Slice the Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. If necessary, you can use the slicing disc on a food processor, but it won’t be super thin. Place in a serving bowl.
  2. Add the apple, Manchego and almonds to the shredded Brussels sprouts.
  3. In a small bowl or in a jar with a screw-top lid, combine all dressing ingredients until emulsified. Add drizzle enough dressing onto the sprouts mixture to coat lightly. Toss to combine well and taste for seasoning.