This Rocket Your Mind Salad has the nuttiness of farro, the snappiness of arugula, the freshness of cilantro, the coolness of mint, the creaminess of feta and the sweetness of sugar plum tomatoes, all with a tangy lemon vinaigrette. This taste combination will blow your mind.
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My husband and I just had our 7th wedding anniversary yesterday and since he would be on the road working, we celebrated a few weeks earlier. We were fortunate enough to spend a few days in beautiful Napa, where the inspiration for this Rocket Your Mind Salad recipe came from.
While dining in the restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch Winery I had some wonderfully tasty lamb sliders with this ever so unique yet so simple salad of arugula, mint and cilantro with a lemon vinaigrette. The salad stole the show for me as it was so refreshing and tasty with the sliders. I couldn’t wait to go home and replicate it with a few twists. Somewhere along the way, the idea of adding the grain farro, sugar plum tomatoes and red onion popped into my head. This Rocket Your Mind Salad, with all of its incredible mixture of flavors, would be a perfect combination with virtually any meat.
If you have never had the grain farro, then you are in for a treat. It is often used in Italian cooking and it has a chewy nuttiness that makes it extremely satisfying. The good news is it has great nutritional profile. The one trick that is important to keep in mind when preparing farro, soak it overnight if you don’t purchase the quicker cooking version. The quicker cooking version takes about 10-11 minutes to boil (vs. 45mins) and has a bit less fiber. Whichever version you choose, you are bound to fall in love with this grain.
If you do choose the quick cooking farro, the time it takes for cooking, allows you time to prepare the vinaigrette and veggies.
This Rocket Your Mind Salad would be an incredible side dish for any holiday meal but I know for me, I will be eating it for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.
- Grilled Proteins– Serve alongside chicken, such as Air Fryer Chicken Breasts, beef as in Oven Roasted Tri-Tip, or fish like this Panko Crusted Salmon recipe for a complete and satisfying meal.
- Bread or Crostini– A side of crusty bread such as Sourdough Garlic Bread or crostini is perfect for soaking up any leftover vinaigrette.
- Wine Pairing- Pair this refreshing salad with a crisp white wine or a light rosé for a delightful dining experience.
Variations of Rocket Your Mind Salad
- Use kale, spinach, or mixed greens instead of arugula.
- Mix in avocado, bell peppers, zucchini or asparagus.
- Boost the protein content by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu.
- Add toasted nuts such as pine nuts or almonds for an extra crunch.
- Incorporate dried cranberries or apricots for a hint of sweetness.
Tips and Hints
- Enhance Flavor with Fresh Herbs- The combination of cilantro and mint adds a refreshing touch. Don’t hesitate to add more or less based on your taste preferences.
- Balancing the Vinaigrette- Taste the vinaigrette and adjust lemon juice or salt as needed to achieve a well-balanced flavor.
- Make sure farro is cooked al dente with a little bite left. Don’t overcook.
- Mix in veggies and herbs when farro reaches room temp so greens don’t wilt.
How to Store
- Store vinaigrette and farro mixture separately from greens/herbs.
- Combine everything just before serving.
- Keeps 3-4 days refrigerated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different grain instead of farro?
Yes! Quinoa, couscous, or barley can be excellent substitutes for farro. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
Is it necessary to soak farro overnight for traditional farro?
Soaking traditional farro overnight can expedite the cooking process, but it’s not mandatory. You can still cook it without soaking, but it may require a longer boiling time.
Can I make the vinaigrette ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the vinaigrette in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Just give it a good shake or whisk before adding it to the salad.
Can I customize the herbs in the salad?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with herbs based on your preference. Parsley, basil, or dill can be great additions or substitutions.
Is the feta cheese essential, or can I use a different cheese?
Feta adds a tangy flavor, but you can substitute it with goat cheese, blue cheese, or even Parmesan for a different twist.
What kind of olive oil works best?
An extra virgin olive oil with a fruity, peppery taste provides the most flavor.
How long does the salad last?
It’ll stay fresh 3-4 days stored properly in the fridge.
Rocket Your Mind Salad
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lg lemon *juiced, approximately 1/4 cup
- 2 med med cloves garlic *crushed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 8-9 oz farro grain
- 7 oz bag of arugula
- 1/2 bunch med cilantro *roughly chopped
- 20 leaves fresh mint *torn
- 1 cup sugar plum tomatoes *cut in half
- sm red onion *diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- Cook farro according to instructions on package. If using traditional farro (not quick cooking) soak overnight for faster boiling times.
- For the Vinaigrette - Whisk together oil and lemon juice. Add crushed garlic and salt, whisk to incorporate.
- For the Salad- Once farro is cooked to a tender chewiness, drain and let sit to cool for approximately 10 mins. Add to Vinaigrette and toss. Let farro cool to room temptaure before adding veggies. Add veggies, herbs and cheese to farro/vinaigrette mixture and toss well.
- Cooking times are for quick cooking farro.