This hearty salad with shrimp, farro and a multitude of colorful veggies is full of refreshing and bright Mediterranean flavors. It's perfect as an entree or side dish for brunch, lunch or dinner. It can be prepared ahead of time and is also great for leftovers. It's so versatile it allows you to easily substitute your favorite fresh veggies and proteins. Quantities listed are for reference only. Adjust to taste.
Prepare farro per package instructions. Cooking time is approximately 30 minutes. Drain water. Set aside in covered pot for 5 minutes to steam, then remove lid to bring to room temperature. If cooking ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to use and warm for 30 seconds in microwave. Farro tastes best just slightly warm.
Cook shrimp in steamer basket, covered pan or grill until pink (approximately 5 minutes if using frozen shrimp). Season to taste with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Trim ends of asparagus. Steam or grill until crisp tender (approximately 4-5 minutes, depending on thickness. Pencil thin asparagus will cook much quicker.) If steaming, remove from heat and plunge asparagus into an ice bath (a bowl with ice and water) to stop cooking.
Slice cherry tomatoes and artichoke hearts in half.
Season farro with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste, olive oil, zest and juice of half lemon, and basil ribbons. To keep it easy, we skip mixing the olive oil and lemon juice to make a vinaigrette and add the ingredients directly into the farro then fluff with a fork.
To serve, arrange farro in a large bowl and place all ingredients on top in a decorative rainbow pattern. (Alternate colors for visual impact) When ready to eat, toss all ingredients. You can also arrange individual salads by dividing all ingredients equally in small bowls.
This recipe is very versatile and can be prepared ahead of time. You can use quinoa, brown rice or orzo in place of farro. You can use chicken, tuna, or lean steak in place of shrimp. Add other veggies based on your preferences.