Chicken and farro salad with pesto

Allegra McEvedy throws together a light yet filling summer salad packed with tender chicken leg meat and healthy farro grains
By Allegra McEvedy
Chicken and farro salad with pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken

  • 1 large free-range chicken leg
  • ½ onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 stalks parsley, roughly torn
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprigs thyme

For the salad

  • 200 g farro
  • 1/3 cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • ½ lemons, juice only

For the pesto

  • 20 g pine nuts
  • ½ cloves garlic
  • 1 large handful basil, leaves only
  • 15 g parmesan, grated
  • 3-4 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling


1. For the chicken: place the chicken leg into a deep pan along with all of the other chicken ingredients and cover with about 1 litre of water. Bring to a simmer and cook over a very low heat for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

2. Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and set aside to cool. Strain the stock, discarding the solids. Return the stock to a clean pan and boil until it has reduced to about 500ml.

3. For the salad: place the farro in a small pan and pour over the reduced stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook gently for 30-40 minutes, or until the grains are cooked but retain some bite.

4. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3.

5. Scatter the cherry tomatoes over a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the cherry tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until softened and split.

6. Mix the tomatoes into the farro, along with the cucumber chunks. Squeeze over the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

7. For the pesto: scatter the pine nuts over a baking tray and toast for about 10 minutes in the oven until golden-brown all over.

8. Finely chop the garlic with a pinch of sea salt and the basil leaves. Mix the garlic and basil together with the toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese in a small bowl, crushing the pine nuts as you go. Season to taste, then stir in the extra virgin olive oil.

9. To serve, spoon the farro over shallow dishes. Pick the meat off the chicken leg and stir into the pesto. Spoon the chicken and pesto mixture over the farro and lightly mix to combine.

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