This farro salad eats like a full meal. Al dente whole grain farro tossed with your favorite herbs and a simple lemony dressing. Add in some diced grilled veggies, fresh baby greens and serve over creamy hummus for an easy, crave-worthy and nutritious meal.
First, What is Farro?
Farro is a term used to describe a group of three different types of hulled wheat (Spelt, emmer and einkorn.) These wheat products are whole grain cereals – they have both the digestible parts of the seed, as well as the indigestible (husk and straw, or basically lots of fiber!) A nice alternative to rice, quinoa and other grains, farro is really nutritious with a unique chewy texture and nutty flavor.
A lot of recipes (and even the instructions on some farro packages) call for simmering farro with enough water so that it’s all absorbed during cooking. Doing so will give varying results for a few reasons: There’s different types of farro, differences in the age of the farro, variations in heat output among stoves, etc. These variables all affect water absorption and cooking time.
Overcooked farro is similar to eating lumpy oatmeal, and under-cooked farro is just as unpleasant because it’s hard to chew.
Properly cooked farro is slightly chewy, but not so much that’s it’s distracting while you’re eating it. To get this result every time, the trick is to simply boil the farro in a more water than what it can absorb during cooking, like you would with pasta or noodles.
To enhance the flavor of the farro, I like to toast it first. About 5 minutes, in a dry pot over medium heat will slightly darken the farro and give it a nutty, toasty flavor.
Once toasted, the flavor can be further enhanced by cooking it in vegetable stock rather than just water. The stock can be reserved after for another use. Simmer the farro for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste it to see if it’s cooked (don’t just eyeball it.)
Tips for Perfect Farro Salad
This salad is perfect year round but is particularly nice in the summer when you might have the barbecue on the go. Grilling the zucchini and red pepper gives the salad a nice smoky flavor (and pretty grill marks, if you’re into them.) Compared with turning on your oven and roasting vegetables for 20-30 minutes, grilling only takes a few minutes!
Once the farro is cooked and brought to room temperature, toss with the dressing and grilled veggies. The farro mixture can then be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days before combining with the baby arugula and serving over the hummus. The farro is even more flavorful after marinating overnight.
Avoid tossing the greens with the farro mixture ahead of time. The baby arugula can lose it’s crispness and become a bit too soft.
This recipe calls for a blend of parsley and dill. Fresh basil is also a great choice if you want to swap out the dill or parsley.
I use baby arugula in this recipe because I like the flavor and the small, pretty leaves. Baby spinach or baby kale would also be great if that’s what you have on hand. Regardless of which green you use, toss the greens with the farro mixture just before serving for the best texture.
Dukkah is a great pantry ingredient to have on hand and is so good in this dish. It’s an Egyptian blend of crushed nuts and spices, and is flavorful and crunchy. A little goes a long way. You can make your own, or buy it premade. It is really tasty served over hummus, dips, salads, and fresh veggies. If you don’t have dukkah, you can roughly chop some toasted nuts of your choice and sprinkle it over the salad and hummus at serving time. For this dish, I’d suggest salted pistachios or roasted almonds.
I hope you love this delicious and nutritious meal as much as we do!
Herby Farro Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Hummus
herbs and a simple lemony dressing. Mixed with diced grilled veggies,
fresh baby greens and served over creamy hummus for an
easy, crave-worthy and nutritious meal.
- 1 ½ cups farro see notes for gluten-free option
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4" slices (or 1 medium)
- 2 red bell peppers, seeds and stem removed, quartered lengthwise
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling and drizzling
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 cups baby arugula
- 2 cups hummus*
- ⅓ cup dukkah**
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the farro and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until the farro is fragrant and toasty. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occassionally. Taste the farro at 20 minutes to determine if it's done – it should not be mushy but have a nice chew to it. Drain completely (reserve the vegetable stock for another use) and place in a bowl (or on a large baking sheet to speed things up.). Bring to room temperature.
- In the meantime, grill the zucchini and red peppers. Heat your indoor grill or outdoor barbecue to medium. Brush the vegetables with oil, and grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Do not overcook the zucchini – remove it from the grill while it's still semi-firm. When cool enough to handle, dice the vegetables into 1/4 inch pieces. For larger zucchinis, you may wish to omit the centers and seeds. You should have about 2 cups of zucchini and a cup of peppers.
- Combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs. Pour over the cooled farro and toss to coat. Stir in the grilled vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste. At this point, the farro mixture can be covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- To serve, toss the farro mixture (chilled or room temperature) with the arugula. Spread about 1/3 cup of hummus on one side of each plate or bowl, and serve the salad on the other side of the plate/bowl with some covering a bit of the hummus. Sprinkle with dukkah, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, if desired.