In the summer time, when the weather would get too hot, sometimes my mom and I would blow off everything and head to the beach for the day. We’d stop on the way at a sub shop to grab lunch. Sometimes we’d grab sandwiches at a local chain in town before getting on the highway, sometimes we’d stop at a little deli five minutes from the beach, I always ordered a greek salad wrap (no onions). It didn’t matter where we stopped. If we were going to the beach, that’s what I was eating.
As much as I loved that greek wrap, I don’t think I got it any other time in the year. It was specifically for summer, for eating at the beach in the hot sunshine while trying not to get dressing on the book in my lap. As far as beach eats go, it wasn’t the best choice. It was messy and no matter how hard I tried, I always got at least a few mouthfuls that were crunchy with sand. And sometimes the olives in the wrap would have pits in them, a fact I would only discover when I bit down hard on one. But despite their shortcomings those wraps were the taste of summer, of long afternoons on the beach.
What I find myself craving now is the barebones of that greek salad flavor. Oregano, lemon, feta, tomato, and cucumber; hold the lettuce please. And skip the wrap too. Have you ever tried to wrestle salad into a wrap like they do at your local sandwich joint? I spent a while trying to do this at my college salad bar with mostly poor results. Either I would rip the wrap and spill salad everywhere, or I would keep it together by using less salad and end up hungry 30 minutes later. These days my summer greek salad is this bowl, which combines all those flavors with a bit more staying power. And a lot less messy construction.
Grain bowls like this are having quite the moment right now. I see them popping up on restaurant menus and in glossy magazine pages. They’re easy, they’re customizable, they can fit just about any dinner need you have to fill. These ones hit all the right notes from those beachy greek wraps (and skips the sand). The farro and shrimp bowls are cool and fresh, the kind of thing you want to eat when the temperature gets too high to turn on the oven. Or on those days when you’re still dreaming about summer.
- 1 cup semi-pearled farro
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup minced fresh oregano, divided
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 lb medium cooked shrimp
- 2 cups roughly diced cucumber
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup feta, plus more for serving
- BOIL 1 quart of water and when it is boiling, add the farro. Cook the farro for about 20 minutes, until it is tender and chewy. Drain the cooked farro and set it aside.
- COMBINE juice, minced garlic, 2 tbs minced oregano, olive oil, and mustard in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake thoroughly. Set the dressing aside.
- TOSS the shrimp with the lemon zest and the remaining minced oregano.
- EVENLY DIVIDE the cooked farro among four bowls and top with shrimp, cucumber, and tomato. Sprinkled feta over the top and dress each bowl with about 2 tablespoons of dressing. Serve immediately, with any extra dressing on the side.
You can, of course, also serve this in a single bowl with the ingredients arranged on top, or just toss it all together before serving. The leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge and make an excellent lunch.