I really love farro, and if you haven't tried it yet, let this best ever farro salad be your introduction to this amazing grain. A fresh, bright and vibrant summer salad filled with fresh vegetables, this is one of the best farro summer salad recipes you will find.
I am a huge fan of main course salad recipes in the summer. We pretty much have the steakhouse salad with honey vinaigrette and the farmer's market salad with beet vinaigrette on repeat along with this best ever farro salad. They are all full of fresh vegetables and made with light homemade dressings that everyone loves.
What does farro taste like?
Farro has been around forever, and is made of wheat (so this is not for the gluten free crowd). Uncooked it looks fat grains of brown rice. Cooked, I would say farro looks more like barley, and sort of has a similar texture. But the taste of farro is definitely more like brown rice mixed with oats, I think. It is nutty, and much lighter than other grains. I prefer it to quinoa and barley.
Is farro better for you than rice?
Oh absolutely. It has a lot of protein, fiber and vitamins. It not a refined grain like rice, so it retains all the good things, and is most definitely better for you than rice.
How do you cook with farro?
While this best ever farro salad is my personal favorite way to cook with farro, it certainly isn't the only one. It makes an excellent side dish in place of rice, risotto, or pasta. This farro con verdure is a family favorite of ours, as is this farro with spinach and parmesan.
My best ever farro salad is an adaptation of one my foodie friend's recipes. I have added a lot more veggies and fruits to my recipe, and made it more of a greens-based salad. Here's what you need:
- Sliced strawberries
- Green zucchini
- Yellow zucchini
- Fresh parsley
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Feta (optional, of course, I am not a huge fan of cheese, but I know many people are, including my family)
The dressing is a light honey, dijon and lemon vinaigrette, that is the perfect compliment to all the fruit and veggies in this salad.
How to prepare the farro
The actual cooking of the farro is pretty damn simple. Farro is cooked in liquid, like every other grain. What kind of liquid is totally up to you. I cook it sometimes in vegetable stock, sometimes in chicken stock, but most often I cook in it apple cider. And I wish I could tell you I was the genius who thought of apple cider as cooking liquid, but I am not. Charlie Bird - a restaurant in NYC came up with this one, and it is a winner for sure. A lot of salt, apple cider and water create the most perfectly seasoned cooked farro.
And given that this farro summer salad recipe is full of fruits and vegetables, a little sweet and salty farro creates the perfect balance.
Tips for success
- Like every salad recipe of mine, this is completely adaptable. Use as many, as different, or as few of the fruit and vegetable ingredients I list. The important thing is to make this a hearty enough salad to enjoy as a main course recipe. But don't overthink it.
- To make this even heartier you can add chicken and/or nuts to this salad too. This would be a great salad to serve for a lunch party.
These ingredients do/don't stand up well to freezing for X days/weeks/months.
Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the hot farro, as soon as it is finished cooking. All of that dressing will get absorbed by the warm farro as it cools, imparting extra flavor.
For the farro
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
For the salad
- 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled
- 1 cup farro cooked
- ½ cup strawberries sliced
- ½ cup cherries pitted and cut in half
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow zucchini
- ¾ cup asparagus finely julienned on an angle
- 1 cup arugula I used baby arugula
- 2 cups spinach
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 5 hard-boiled eggs quartered
For the dressing
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon sherry or apple cider vinegar I prefer sherry for this
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
To cook the farro
- Combine farro, salt, apple cider and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, uncovered over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to low and simmer, still uncovered until most of the liquid is absorbed and the forro is good and tender. If the faroo absorbs all the liquid before finishing cooking, add a bit more water.
For the dressing
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients EXCEPT the oil. Slowly drizzle the oil in a steady stream, while whisking, until it comes together.
For the salad
- Put all salad ingredients EXCEPT the hard boiled eggs in a large serving bowl.
- Pour the dressing on the salad and mix to combine. Place the eggs on top and serve.