This delicious spring arugula and pea shoot salad makes good use of fresh, green spring veggies, greens, and herbs — and not asparagus! (nothing against asparagus, but it seems like we eat it and see it all the time during spring. It’s nice to have a few other favorite spring veggies to enjoy too.) Hopefully wherever you live, you’ll have access to the same or similar ingredients because this really is a yummy combination!
This salad uses farro, which is an ancient variety of wheat. It cooks fairly quickly and you can find it near the rice at the grocery store. But another whole grain can easily be substituted. (I’ve included variations and substitutions below the recipe.) It helps to bulk the salad up with extra protein and carbs to make it more filling.
This salad would be great for lunch or dinner as is, but it’s also great with a piece of grilled chicken or fish, or even veggie burger.
A favorite spring veggies is pea shoots. The tender shoots are a cut above sprouts and have a mild pea flavor. If they grow for longer, the leaves will become larger and cute little tendrils will spring up. If left to grow even longer, darling purple and white blossoms will appear and eventually turn into peas. Those tender leaves, tendrils, and stems are just as delicious. So if you can’t find one, see if you can find the other. If not, any mild shoot or sprout will do here. Some can be pretty spicy — like radish sprouts. This recipe also includes fresh peas — no need to cook them first if they are super fresh. (And if you can’t find fresh, you can just thaw out some frozen baby peas and you’ll be set.)
Everyone knows peas and mint are a classic combo, so this recipe includes plenty of fresh mint too. The saltiness of feta with mint and the sweet pea shoots is a terrific combo. It’s all about the balance of flavors and textures. The fresh lemon juice is such a great and not-overpowering way to add an acidic and extra fresh element.
And after all that, all it needs is a good toss and it’s ready to eat. :)
Spring Arugula and Pea Shoot Salad
4 cups baby arugula
2 cups pea shoots, washed well and loosely packed
1 cup cooked farro* (or another whole grain such as wheat, barley, wild or brown rice, etc.)
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup shelled peas
1/2 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh mint, torn
5-6 green onions, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 2 medium lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Place arugula, pea shoots, farro, feta, peas, almonds, mint, green onions, and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl.
2. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings
*Farro typically comes pearled or semi-pearled. It needs to be cooked before being used. They cooking time is about the same as brown rice, though you can sometimes find parboiled and dried farro that only takes about 10 minutes to cook.
– This can be made ahead. Don’t add the dressing until right before serving.
– Baby spinach or another tender green can be used instead of arugula
– Substitute parsley or basil for mint, if desired.
– Fresh, crumbled goat cheese can be substituted for the feta, as can another salty cheese such as Ricotta Salata, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, Romano, etc.
– If you can’t find farro, another grain or small pasta can be used such as wheat berries, freekeh, bulghur, barley, wild or brown rice, millet, amaranth, quinoa, couscous, orzo, etc.
– If you can’t find pea shoots, another variety of shoot or sprout can be used, keeping in mind that some are spicy or more strong in flavor than the peas. Look for sunflower shoots; broccoli, radish, alfalfa, or another sprout. Wash very well before using!
Credits: Images, styling & recipe by Lindsey Johnson.