Pesto Power Salad

Pesto Power Salad

Sometimes you crave Mac & Cheese. The good, prostate homemade kind made with bechamel and extra sharp cheddar and topped with buttery breadcrumbs. That’s what I had this weekend. It was delicious and comforting and heavy. (See Epicurious for the recipe.) Other times, look you actually want something a little healthier. Something that doesn’t make you want to curl up on the couch in a food coma for 2 hours. Especially if it’s a weekday lunch and you’ve got at least 5 more hours of work to do.

For me, sales a grain salad is the best kind of lunch. You can make a big batch at the beginning of the week, it doesn’t wilt and it just tastes better the longer it marinades. I like to call this kind of salad Power Salad. It all starts with your favorite grain – anything from quinoa to farro. The key to good grains is toasting them in a dry skillet until they’re just starting to turn golden and become fragrant. Toasting gives them a deeper, nuttier flavor.

Once you’ve cooked your grains, toss them with beans, sturdy vegetables and an herby vinaigrette. This time I used edamame beans and a lemony pesto made with almonds. Mix everything together, refrigerate and you’ve got lunch for the week. Lunch that will make you feel great and not put you in a food coma. I like to save good food comas for the weekend when you can really enjoy them.

Tags: × × × × ×


  1. Great idea, Mel. I love making salads like this with wheat berries, farro, quinoa…you name it. Love the addition of the edamames and the pesto sounds bright and perfect. – S

  2. Your are so right. Grain salads DO make the absolute best lunch. I make something similar to this almost every week!

  3. I am absolutely, 100% making this. The perfect summer lunch

  4. Do you toast the grains first and then cook as normally instructed?

  5. KB – thanks for pointing that out! You toast them in a dry skillet, then add water to cook. I’ll update the recipe :)

  6. Hi! What a GREAT blog. I found you while searching for “roasting baby artichokes”. I love this recipe idea and am going to try it tomorrow! ~jess

  7. I crave something like this ALL the time. Like today for instance…I have a bag of farro in the pantry that I still have not used, never cooked at home. I love the edamame in this for protein too! Great recipe!

  8. I made this tonight and it is delicious! I’m looking forward to eating it throughout the week. Thank you!

  9. I made one of these tonight, with quinoa and chickpeas… and cheated a little bit by adding some blue cheese.

    a girl can’t be good all the time!

  10. This is the kind of salad that I could eat everyday for lunch. Pesto is a favorite of ours and I appreciate how much of a nutritional punch this packs. I would love if you’d consider entering this recipe into the online Get Grillin’ & summer bbq event I’m hosting (it’s side dish week).

  11. This looks amazing. And here I was just wondering what I was going to do with all the quinoa I just bought…can’t wait to try it!

  12. All the best with the birth of your baby.

  13. A fun photo I made from your blog. Thanks for always keeping me full!

  14. I love pesto and don’t make it near often enough. This looks wonderful!

  15. Could bulger be used as the grain for this salad?? I am new to cooking with things like bulger, quinoa, or farro…

  16. I cannot wait to make this! It looks incredible. I’ve also made your corn/basil/bacon spaghetti (added brussels sprouts) and it was so good!

  17. edward r nichols says:

    my husband needs this.

  18. What i do not understood is in fact how you are no longer actually much more well-favored than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent. You recognize thus significantly when it comes to this matter, produced me in my view believe it from a lot of various angles. Its like men and women are not interested unless itˇs one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. All the time care for it up!

  19. I do believe all the ideas you’ve presented for your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for beginners. May just you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  20. Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boringî“‘ I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  21. Made this today- I knew it would be delicious, so I made a double batch. It was so tasty- my whole family loved it. Thanks for another fabulous recipe!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>