Detour (FFwD: Not-Quite Lemon Barley Pilaf)

These days, life is filled with detours.

Bad. Good. Indifferent.

Driving down the road.

Route planned.


Big orange signs appear indicating that an alternate path needs to be chosen.

You've been detoured. 

You are totally craving a scoop of Fireworks ice cream from the local ice cream shop. They are out. Do you pick an alternate flavor or pass altogether? Detour.

You've carefully laid out your evening. Looking forward to getting home from work and settling in with a glass of wine in one hand and a good book in the other. Just for a half hour. A forgotten appointment pops up. Detour.

The rental car agency is sold out of the type of car you reserved, but they can upgrade you at no cost. Detour - and a good one at that.

Your partner offers to make dinner unexpectedly. Detour.

You start making lemon barley pilaf, but decide to leave out the lemon and the barley and the "pilaf".


I'll confess, I couldn't do it.

The thought of sauteing all those vegetables into neutrality while I had so many fresh, vibrant vegetables sitting there begging to be used left me cold. Stone. Cold.

There was also a partial bag of farro begging to be rescued from the cupboard.

And, I had just made 5 batches of pesto from my CSA bounty.

Did I really have a choice but to detour?

I'd say that The Fates had already made the decision for me.

It is far easier to ask for forgiveness than to seek permission.

I'm sorry? (No, not really - this was too good for apologies...)

Here is what I did - it is not so much a recipe as it is a concept. Grains, vegetables, seasonings - toss together. The "whats" are whatever looks good to you and fits your needs. There was no planning involved -  if it caught my eye, I threw it in.

Farro-Pesto Salad

1 cup farro
1 small bunch baby Swiss Chard, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbs pesto
3 small radishes, thinly sliced
1 small to medium cucumber, peeled and chopped into chunks
~10 cherry tomatoes or other small tomatoes, halved
Salt, Pepper - to taste

Cook farro according to package directions. (My rule of thumb is to cook 1 cup farro in 2 cups water + pinch of salt for ~15 minutes or until cooked through. It should still have a bit of a bite and not be totally mushy). Transfer to a medium sized bowl and toss Swiss chard and pesto with warm farro.

Let mixture cool to room temperature. Mix in remaining vegetables, cover and chill for ~2 hours. Season to taste with salt & pepper. May be served at room temperature or cold.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Be sure to check out the site where other, less "detoured" bloggers are sure to post their take on this week's recipes.


  1. Very nice, Cher.

    I rarely say this, but I had a terrible day at work today! I hit the ground running & hit so many detours that I felt like I was in a funny mirror box. Ah, but, we continue to strive & thrive. I guess that's what makes us us!

    I like your take on this salad & I'm all about fresh & local! Very nicely done.

  2. I enjoyed my pilaf, but your take on it looks so tempting. I've never had farro. I never know what to do with swiss chard besides sautee it, so this intrigues me.

  3. I really love your detour Cher! Can´t wait to see how you use the rest of the pesto. Have a great weekend!

  4. Pesto, fresh veggies and farro always lead in the right direction! That's my philosophy, anyway. :)

  5. I really wouldn't mind being with you on such a detour!

  6. Yours looks good too Cher but the original (well, using a different grain) was good too! You should try it. But now we should all try yours! Happy weekend.

  7. Oh, yeah...I'd much rather have eaten your detour! Looks delish, Cher!

  8. Cher, your Farro-Pesto Salad looks delicious and healthy with tons of wonderful veggies! Great idea! Detours are often the best roads to take!

    Have a great weekend!

  9. Let the fates win . . . you done good.

  10. Looks delicious! I'm all for the detour!

  11. I've never used farro before - another one of those ancient grains. Have you ever used amaranth? We did in a cooking class last year and it's very interesting - very corn-y. I like where you're head's at on this one though. It's summertime and we should take advantage of all of this produce while we have the chance. Great post!

  12. Looks delicious Cher! With all those great looking veggies lying around, I can't blame you for detouring. I went with Dorie's suggestion to turn the barley pilaf into a grain salad and I really enjoyed it. Just seemed to fit the season better.

  13. I really love reading your posts Cher..they feel like the talk I would have with my friend over a cup of tea.
    I agree life is full of detours and I think your detour lead to a better destination
    wonderfully refreshing and colorful recipe

    1. I would love to have that cup of tea with you :-)

  14. The older I get the less Detours bother me. Your dinner looks great. I have never heard of farro, but it looks good and I think I will have to find some!

  15. Oh, I gotta love those days when all my plans turn into detours. Lol:) Your farro salad looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I love what you do with what's on hand. Anyone that does that is a great cook as far as I'm
    concerned. My Mom could make a great dish out of "whatever" was in the fridge and it
    turned out wonderful. Hubby always says that her stews were the best, and I know she did not use the most expensive piece of meat, but her touch was great. Must have been the French upbringing. Your "pilaf" looks wonderful and I love all the additions.

  17. Yummy! Your "detoured" salad looks amazing! :)

  18. LOL - life is full of detours. Glad this one was a goid one for you. What is Fireworks icecream?

    1. Fireworks ice cream has pop rock candy in it - a local creamery makes it special this time of year. When you eat it, it crackles in your mouth. It's a kid's treat, but I am totally addicted to it.

  19. Cher, your detours seem so worth it, I mean look at this splendid and colorful dish you ended up with! Maybe Dorie should include it in her next cookbook? (*winks*) Farro is totally new to me, I'm going to have to look it up and try it. Love your non-take on the barley pilaf, girl! :)

  20. Cher, Detours happen everyday and most of the time they have good results like your salad. I don’t usually make hot sides during the summer…I like those veggies cold and uncooked, too! We did enjoy this one though!

  21. What you did is what cooking is all about... using what is fresh and you have available. I love farro I tried it for the first time this summer and I like the texture much more than barley.

  22. I'm more impressed by the five batches of pesto.

  23. Nice job. I love your salad. It's the sort of thing summer is all about.

    I've been making pesto, too - radish leaf-almond and basil-walnut this week. Both my radishes and my basil have been prolific this year, so I see a lot more pesto in my future.

  24. I don't think my comment posted so I will try again. The gist of my comment was that Life is one big fat Detour. You seem to make good choices, letting the Dude make dinner, and making Farro-Pesto salad. You inspired me to do something with Farro --- never done that. Nice Post.

  25. LOL, it still looks great! are you going to try it later with barley?

    1. Mmmmm. Maybe... I do like barley though

  26. Looks and sounds wonderful! Love your post. :)

  27. i love your photos, the color and the food also, makes me hungry LOL :D
    I'd like to invite you to submit your food photos on a Food Photography site so our readers can enjoy your creations.
    It is absolutely free and fun to make others hungry!

  28. Great idea! I may borrow your recipe to use up the rest of my farro. It was definitely hard to make pilaf in the summer.


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