Farro Salad


Farro Salad // shutterbean

I was invited to my friend Kasey’s birthday/picnic in Golden Gate Park over the weekend and I planned on making my favorite potato salad but then my parents came over and my mom brought me a taste of Ina Garten’s Farro Salad. I spent 15 minutes hovered over my kitchen counter spooning bite after bite into my mouth. It was tangy. It was hearty. It was crunchy. The peppers! The carrots! The balsamic and the sweetness of the red onions! The nuttiness of the farro! It’s as if you crossed farro salad with Giardiniera. And oh boy do I love Giardiniera!

Farro Salad // shutterbean

So, this is what I brought. I just HAD to. And in the morning of making it, I stood over the counter pouring scoop after scoop into my a little bowl for “tasting” purposes. Because one has to get everything just perfect before bringing a salad to a picnic, right?

Farro Salad // shutterbean

There’s no doubt this will be making several appearances in my summer get-togethers this year. Excited!

And we’re off!

Ingredients. All staples in my kitchen.

Farro Salad // shutterbean

Chopping party. Get the tension out. Chopping is fun when you learn how to do it right. 

Farro Salad // shutterbean

First things first. Make your farro. You boil it in a pot of water. Then drain. Takes about 45 minutes. Alternately, Trader Joe’s makes a 10 minute farro. You could totally use that if you want. Let’s see how long Trader Joe’s has that in stock…I’m still bitter that there’s no plain frozen yogurt anymore…

Farro Salad // shutterbean

Onions get sautéed in olive oil til translucent. Add in the balsamic. Let it sit for a minute.

Farro Salad // shutterbean

Now we assemble. Season with salt & pepper.

Farro Salad // shutterbean

It all gets mixed together. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Refrigerate it!

Farro Salad // shutterbean

I find that it’s really good cold. Most things are really good cold…except cold leftover Indian food. I prefer that heated.

Farro Salad // shutterbean

And before I brought it to the picnic, I added feta in it. I think it adds a nice visual contrast!

Farro Salad // shutterbean

YUM! And it’s totally vegan (sans the feta)!

Farro Salad

makes 6 servings

recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

  • 1 cup farro
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup finely diced red onion (1 onion)
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 scallions, minced, white and green parts
  • 1 red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 carrot, small diced
  • 2 celery stalks, small diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta (totally optional)

Place the farro and 3 cups of boiling salted water in a saucepan and cook, uncovered, over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain.

Saute the red onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine the warm farro, sauteed onions, scallions, red bell pepper, carrot, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes for the farro to absorb the sauce. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature.

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57 Comments

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  • May 30, 2013

    Mmmmm. I pinned a farro recipe a few days ago but this just jumped to the front of the que! I’ll be making this for many a summer picnic (fingers crossed, it’s currently freezing out)!

  • May 30, 2013

    Oh yum! I love salads that I can tuck away in the fridge and have for lunches through the week, this looks like it would be great for that!

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      Exactly!

  • May 30, 2013

    This looks really good. I’ve never tried farro but I keep seeing it everywhere. Also, there’s finally a Trader Joe’s opening near me soon and I’m so excited!

  • May 30, 2013

    This sounds so good! I bet hit as the hit of the party! I need to make more farro!

  • Ok now this is a salad I can get behind!

  • May 30, 2013

    Farro is so wonderful in a salad! I had it for the first time in Italy, also in a salad, and have had such a hard time finding it here in Canada since. Where do you get yours?

  • I love farro but I cannot say it out loud without sounding like Giada de Laurentiis.

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      AHHH. I dare you to say farro bruschetta with pancetta. Wait..don’t. :)

  • jenny
    May 30, 2013

    I still mourn for the TJ’s plain fro-yo. What were they thinking? This salad looks fantastic–farro is such a great base for summer salads!

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      I KNOW!??!! Now their ice cream section is totally dead to me.

  • I’ve NEVER had farro. It looks awesome, but I just haven’t done it yet. This is totally going to take me to the store tonight. I’ll try it this weekend :)

  • Goretti Tada
    May 30, 2013

    This salad looks mighty tasty. Unfortunately, I don’t have any farro. I’m going to try and make it with quinoa. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      You might want to take it easy on the dressing with the quinoa. I think that the balsamic holds up well with the farro. I’d recommend adding a little at a time to the final mix and going from there! Good luck!

  • May 30, 2013

    Grain salads like this are one of my summer favorites. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with whole-grain farro before (although farro pasta has definitely made an appearance)–now I think I may need a visit to the bulk bins!

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      DO IT. You’ll love it!

  • May 30, 2013

    This looks so yummy – I make similar grain salads and it’s always like an explosion of flavors and textures. I love the added feta – definitely makes for a nice burst of white color.

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      Yes! I love how it jazzes up the look of the salad. It can look super monochromatic without it.

  • May 30, 2013

    This looks so good – who can say no to a good grain salad! Farro is totally having a moment right now.

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      Farro is the new black!

  • May 30, 2013

    I am so glad you made it out, and your salad was so so good. I wish I still had leftovers! xoxo

  • Shawna Greenway
    May 30, 2013

    Seriously, what is it about farro that is so damn addictive. It truly is the crack of whole grains. Trader Joe’s has it in those cute little blue bag (let’s call them whole grain dime bags cuz really…) and it’s the perfect size for a family of four and then pretty soon, every time you go to TJ’s you end up buying 4 bags because you can’t stand the idea of not having those cute little blue bags in the house at ALL times. Meanwhile, the basmati rice and brown rice are sitting in their jars looking sad because no one cares about them anymore.

    I am making this salad tonight when the family gets home, otherwise I may end up eating the whole thing if no one else is around.

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      those blue bags get me every time!

      • Shawna
        May 30, 2013

        Wow, this is fantastic! The hubby has requested no carrots next time but it’s going well with the pork piccata and garlic green beans I’m making for dinner

        • Tracy
          May 31, 2013

          No carrots?! Suspicious! :)

  • I do a farro salad with roasted veggies and corn. And now Costco sells farro. I am so happy. Can’t wait to try yours!

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      Oh wow! I had no idea. I’ll have to check it out next time I go.

  • Emily
    May 30, 2013

    When do you add the celery????

    • Tracy
      May 30, 2013

      with all the other stuff!

  • YUM! Going to have to try this. I just made farro for breakfast with caramelized banana, strawberries and coconut milk! http://www.thecyclistswife.blogspot.com/2013/05/breakfast-farro-with-caramelized-banana.html

  • May 30, 2013

    I am going to make this on the weekend for work lunches – it sounds great. Thanks so much for the recipe. Also I have the same tea towels as you! I love Vera’s designs and collect her vintage scarves on etsy and ebay so I just had to buy them when I saw them at Crate and Barrel.

  • Christina N
    May 30, 2013

    The last time I went to TJ’s they told me the quick- cook farro was discontinued! Did they lie to me? It made everything SO easy. This recipe looks insane and its totally getting added to next week’s meal plan.

  • Shannon
    May 31, 2013

    I just inhaled some of this for lunch. Delicious. Thanks for posting.

  • Jessy
    May 31, 2013

    ok, maybe a dumb question, but can i get farro somewhere besides trader joe’s?

    • Tracy
      May 31, 2013

      Do you have a whole foods or some type of hippy grocery store near you?

      • Jessy
        June 1, 2013

        no whole foods. but we do live in eureka, ca…so lots of hippy joints. ;) i’ll start searching.

  • fardous
    May 31, 2013

    FARRO ? sorry but i didnt hear if it , is have another name ?

  • Kathy
    June 1, 2013

    Had a bag of Umbrian Farro sitting in the pantry 4 evah, said “hmm I should make this salad, it looks good and will go with the chicken statays I was going to make for dinner”. Well I just tasted the finished product and OMG!! Why is this so much better than you think it is going to be? It’s nutty and sweet and light and..and …too bad we’re not having company, a great dish for summer entertaining. Everyone is watching what they eat.. Who can’t eat this?

    • Tracy
      June 2, 2013

      RIGHT?!!! I was reluctant to make it for my website because I thought it would be super hard to get a good shot of it. It doesn’t necessarily look super appetizing, but OMG the taste. It’s crazy good!

  • June 2, 2013

    OMG. That looks so freaking good.

  • Kathy
    June 4, 2013

    Am making this right now…….cannot wait for it to finish. I don’t have any celery (it was completely dead), so I’m going to add a bit of fresh, flat leaf parsley. Thanks Tracy for another yummy recipe! :)

  • June 7, 2013

    So… turns out farro is just wheatberries? I wish I would have realized that before I bought the fancy schmancy stuff from the health food store. Oh well – I learned something new today, I guess!

  • June 9, 2013

    I love the TJ’s 10 minute farro, I hope they don’t get rid of it. This salad looks summer perfect!

  • Amy
    June 10, 2013

    I made this last night – delicious, especially with the feta. I am a sucker for any recipe that calls for diced vegetables. All that chopping puts me in a meditative state and seeing the uniformly cute pops of crunchy color in the salad is wicked satisfying!

    • Tracy
      June 10, 2013

      EXACTLY. I find that chopping is the best way to get in the zone & relax!

  • October 6, 2013

    I can’t get over how good this sounds!!!!!

  • Nikki
    January 8, 2014

    I literally make a batch of this almost weekly–sometimes with different ingredients, sometimes not. My fiance is hooked and we eat this for lunch, with lunch or as an after work snack when we feel like were so hungry were gonna die! Thank you for showing us this!

    • Nikki
      January 8, 2014

      We also add roasted sweet potatoes–everytime.

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