This mighty grain, chewy and nutty, makes a healthy and delicious salad. Mediterranean Farro Salad is full of vegetables and tossed with a vibrant zaatar vinaigrette.
Sweet dates, briny olives, red onion, feta cheese, and chopped red onion add punches of flavor. Finely chopped ribbons of mint add a bit of freshness.
What is farro?
An ancient grain, farro is originally from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. Popular in Mediterranean recipes, this wonder grain is high in fiber, iron, antioxidants, and protein and is very versatile. Easily swap farro for another grain, such as rice, to create filling, nutritious, and healthy meals. It can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here is a breakfast idea - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/baked-farro-and-eggs-florentine
It is worth noting, that it is a type of wheat and therefore contains gluten.
Types of farro
There are three farro grains -
Emmer is the variety of farro you will find most often in stores. I find it near the aisle containing organic grains and flour. I have also found it next to rice, barley, and couscous.
The cooking process for farro is dependent on how the grain was processed. There are three types of farro available.
- whole farro - The entire grain is intact which requires a longer cooking time. Soaking the grain overnight is generally suggested to shorten the cooking time.
- semi-pearled - Part of the bran has been removed. The grain is scratched or scored so that it cooks faster than whole farro.
- pearled - The entire bran has been removed. This type of farro requires the shortest cooking time, generally 30-40 minutes.
One of the most important steps in preparing farro is to rinse it prior to cooking. Examine the grains to make sure there isn't any debris. Farro is covered in a powdery residue. Rinsing under cold water will help to remove the coating.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
Sweet and briny, crunchy and chewy, roasted and fresh. This farro salad recipe features ingredients that span the spectrum of flavor, texture, and cooking methods.
- pearled farro
- sweet potatoes
- chicken peas
- red onions
- green olives
- apple cider vinegar
- olive oil
How to prepare the salad
I use pearled farro, primarily because of the cooking time.
Prepare the farro
- Rinse the farro under cold water for about a minute, moving the grains around. It helps to use a strainer to contain the farro while letting the water run through.
- Place the rinsed farro in a pot of boiling salted water over medium-high heat. How much water? I cook the farro like pasta, draining the excess water when the cooking is done. Other recipes suggested a 3:1 ratio of water to farro.
Chop the vegetables
- While the farro is cooking, peel and cut a sweet potato into a medium dice. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Place on a sheet pan and put in a 425-degree preheated oven.
- Roast the sweet potato for 15 minutes. Toss with a spatula to turn the pieces over for even roasting. Roast for 8 minutes more until the diced sweet potatoes are tender and browned.
- Cook the farro for 30 minutes until it is tender but chewy. Some of the grains may have popped open. Drain the excess water and place the farro in a bowl to cool off. Add minced garlic to the warm farro.
- Chop the other ingredients - dates, red onion, green olives, and pistachios.
Add the za'atar vinaigrette
- Drain a can of chickpeas.
- Mix cider vinegar with salt and za'tar. When the salt dissolves, add the olive oil and honey. I like to use a glass jar with a lid to shake the vinaigrette to mix it completely.
- Add the chopped ingredients to the cooled farro.
- Toss the salad with the za'atar vinigrette.
- Slice fresh mint into thin ribbons and add to the salad along with chunks of feta cheese, tossing to combine with all the other ingredients.
- Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled.
- The salad will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
- The date pieces will stick together. Make sure to coat the pieces with the vinaigrette to prevent sticking.
Perfect packed lunch
If you are running low on packed lunch ideas for work, Mediterranean Farro Salad is a great recipe to switch up your sandwich and bag of chips routine.
A vibrant za'atar vinaigrette and fresh mint are the perfect partners with the sweet, salty, briny, crunchy, creamy, and sharp salads ingredients. This is a great vegetarian salad option with a healthy amount of protein and fiber.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
- 1 sheet pan
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 cutting board
- 1 knife
- 1 fine mesh strainer
- 1 large bowl
- 1 metal spatula
- 2 cups medium diced sweet potato (9 ounces/140 grams)
- 7½ tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cup pearled farro (13 ounces/370 grams)
- 1¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup sliced red onion (1.3 ounces/37 grams)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
- ¾ cup chopped dates (4.9 ounces/138 grams/7dates)
- 1 cup sliced green olives (5ounces/140 grams)
- ⅔ cup shelled pistachios, chopped (3 ounces/86 grams)
- 1 can chickpeas (15.5 ounces/439 grams)
- 8 ounces feta cheese (226 grams)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar (118 ml)
- ¾ teaspoon zaatar
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons mint (chiffonade)
- Preheat oven to 425°
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
- Rinse 2 cups of farro in a fine mesh strainer under running water for about 1 minute. Shake the strainer to redistribute the grains so that every piece is being rinsed.
- Peel a sweet potato. Chop into a medium dice.
- Place the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan and toss with 1½ tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Place the sheet pan in the oven.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the rinsed farro and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium once the water comes to a boil again. occasionally stir the farro to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- While the potatoes and farro are cooking, chop the red onion into thin strips.
- Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
- Drain a can of chickpeas.
- Chop 7 dates into a small dice. They will be sticky. It helps to coat your knife blade with cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the dates.
- When the sweet potatoes have been roasting for 15 minutes, take the tray out of the oven. Toss the potatoes with a metal spatula to turn the pieces over.
- When the potatoes have roasted for 22-23 minutes, they should be tender and browned. Take them out of the oven.
- When the farro has cooked for 30 minutes, drain the waiter using the fine mesh strainer. It should be tender and chewy with some pieces popped open.
- Put the farro in a bowl to cool off while you prepare other ingredients. Add the minced garlic to the warm grains, stirring it in.
- Chop green olives into 4 quarters.
- Give the pistachios a rough chop.
- Combine cider vinegar, za'atar, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in a glass jar. Let the salt dissolve. Then add the honey and 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Place a lid on the jar and give the vinaigrette a shake.
- Add the chickpeas, red onions, dates, green olives, and pistachios to the bowl of farro. Crumble the feta and gently incorporate it into the salad.
- Finely cut fresh mint into thin ribbons. Add to the salad.
- Pour the vinaigrette into the salad and toss everything together.
- The salad can be served at room temperature or chilled.
- Lasts about 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator.