The shrimp with farro and white beans (and arugula) from Malibu Farms sounds a bit complicated (or at least, it did to me), but it’s honestly just super delicious, quick and easy bowl food.
Bowl food seems like it took instagram and the rest of the world by storm recently, but I realized as I was organizing my cookbooks that I bought several “bowl food”-centric cookbooks in college, including one called Bowl Food, which I lent out to someone who liked it so much I had to buy myself a second copy. There’s really nothing to dislike about the concept of bowl food: comforting, healthy, low-effort food served in a single bowl. Some people have taken the concept in some pretty extreme directions, but it doesn’t have to involve tweezers to carefully place your distinct add-ins. Basically, all your vegetables/fruits, meats/legumes, and grains are tossed or stirred together with whatever sauce works to bring everything together, and ideally, it shouldn’t take too much hands-on time.
In the case of this shrimp with farro and white beans, you cook a little farro (or Israeli couscous), cook some white beans (or simply buy them canned), prep your lemon olive oil dressing, and grill some shrimp. Toss it all together with some veggies (arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, chopped shallot, and a ton of fresh herbs (plus whatever else you have in the crisper, like the green beans I added)), and you have a light and citrusy salad ready to eat in just about 30 minutes (assuming you used canned beans). I reduced the amount of olive oil in the dressing and I skipped the dill butter at the end, because I really didn’t think it was necessary, but if you love dill and you like your shrimp drenched in butter (who doesn’t?), tossing the shrimp in the dill butter will make this salad a bit more decadent. I thought Helene’s shrimp with farro and white beans made for a perfect summer salad, but really, it shouldn’t be limited to just the late summer months. For one thing, the “heat wave” seems to be never ending, and for another, the punch of herb and citrus flavors in this salad will be really nice in the late fall and winter months when you get tired of stews and tray bakes.
From Malibu Farms
Shrimp with Farro and White Beans
Farro and White Bean Salad
- 1 cup farro or Israeli couscous
- 1 cup white beans cooked cannellini, navy, or great Northern
- 1 small Persian or English cucumber chopped fine
- 2 stalks celery chopped fine
- 1 small shallot chopped fine
- lots of fresh herbs, like dill, parsley, cilantro and basil chopped fine (at least 1/3-1/2 cup total)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved if desired
- 2 cups (about 1 bunch) arugula
- 1/4-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium lemons juiced
- 1 clove garlic minced with a pinch of salt
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- drizzle olive oil
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- optionally: 3 tablespoons dill butter 3 tablespoons softened butter with dill and garlic stirred in
If cooking farro, bring a large pot of salted water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock to a boil. Feel free to add additional aromatics to the pot to flavor the liquid. Meanwhile, toast the farro in a skillet over medium heat or in a 300 F oven until fragrant and nutty, about 10 minutes. Add the toasted farro to the boiling liquid and cook until al dente, about another 10 minutes (but taste to check), then drain the liquid. Toss the grain with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside to cool slightly.
If cooking Israeli couscous, toast in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and nutty, about 3-5 minutes. Pour in 1-1/2 cups of water and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until spheres are tender and water is absorbed. Don't overcook or the couscous will be gummy. Toss the Israeli couscous with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside to cool slightly.
While the grain cooks and cools, you can prep your vegetables and herbs (basically, chop them all finely). Juice the lemons. Peel and devein your shrimp.
Toss the cooked farro or Israeli couscous with the white beans in a large bowl. This will cool the grain down somewhat. Drizzle in the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and herbs. Season with Kosher salt to taste (about 1/2-1 teaspoon), then add the cucumber, celery, shallot, cherry tomatoes, and arugula.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, then grill or saute over medium-high heat until the shrimp is just barely done (the residual heat will continue to cook the shrimp). [If you want to be really indulgent, toss with the dill butter. I didn't think it needed this.]
Serve the shrimp on the side of the salad (like I did) or toss the shrimp in with the farro/couscous salad and serve immediately.