Aug 5, 2010

Fruity nutty farro salad

I’m a big fan of using dried fruits and nuts in salads, but the combination always needs to be offset by something tangy or savory. In this grain salad recipe, the vinegar, mustard and scallions do the trick.  It’s most delicious at room temperature, making it an ideal dish for a picnic – or for lunch at your desk for that matter.

Farro is a seriously underused whole grain, at least outside of Italy.  Admittedly, it isn’t readily available in most U.S. supermarkets, but you can find it at many natural foods stores, or on Amazon.  And if you don’t have any on hand, the recipe below is also good made with barley.

Fruity Nutty Farro Salad

2 cups farro
6 cups water
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (use gluten-free vinegar if you prefer)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds or roughly chopped pistachios, toasted
2-3 scallions (depending on size), sliced
2/3 cup dried whole cherries, preferably unsweetened
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste

Toast the nuts and set aside. Soak the farro in a bowl of water for 30 minutes, then drain and place in a medium saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Cook until tender but still quite chewy, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the brand of farro. Drain well and put in a serving bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the orange juice, vinegars and mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the warm farro and stir to combine. Let cool for 20 minutes or more, then add the remaining ingredients. Season to taste, but be cautious with the salt as it can overwhelm the delicate sweetness of this dish.  Add a bit of extra balsamic vinegar if needed to balance the flavors.

See more recipes: Gluten-free, Salads, Side dishes, Vegan


  • Darienne

    Looks and sounds good. What about trying it also with another grain, like Quinoa (I know, not a grain) or Bulgar? I don’t have any Farrow on hand and am not even sure I can get it locally.

  • Darienne, I think this would work with just about any grain, however I think chewier ones are best. So you could definitely try barley, wheat berries or possibly bulgur!

  • Darienne

    Thanks Cathy. Your salads have really made our summer eating delicious!

  • I made this tonight with a few substitutions. The end result was terrific! I used 1 cup pearl barley, which turned into 3 1/2 cups when cooked. I believe that’s just 1/2 cup shy of the estimated 4 cups that the 2 cups of farro would make. To even out the proportions, I would probably start with 1 1/3 cups pearl barley (cooked in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes). I also substituted white wine vinegar for red wine vinegar and fresh cherries for dried cherries. My husband said the dish was one of the best things I have ever made :) When going with fresh cherries like I did, I’d recommend even more, say 1 full cup instead of 2/3 cup.

  • ann chase

    I’ve been interested in trying a recipe using farro so I was excited to see your recipe. I could not find any dried whole cherries so I substituted currants which add a touch of sweetness. When I was ready to make the recipe I was short of time so I let the farro come to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 minutes. It turned out tender and chewy. This recipe is delicious and I look forward to eating the leftovers for lunch most of the upcoming week.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Ann, now that you’ve tried farro, your next goal should be to try freekeh! Here’s a good recipe:

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