Summer Farro Salad

By • June 14, 2010 44 Comments

1,309 + Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Author Notes: I love farro for its nutty texture, and it has the same nutritional benefits as brown rice but cooks in half the time. Rather than simply cook it in water, I added some garlic, onion and parsley to the pan to infuse extra flavor. This recipe started with the Mr. asking me to cook something for his office potluck, so I decided to focus on a salad that could easily double as a side or main course for any vegetarians hoping to take part in the potluck. Studded with tiny bits of fresh mozzarella, chopped olives, onions and grape tomatoes, it's now my new favorite summer salad. The dressing is also a very versatile vinaigrette you can toss with any mixed greens for a homemade option to bottled dressings. - Jennifer PerilloJennifer Perillo

Food52 Review: This salad would be great as a side dish, or as a one-dish meal. Jennifer Perillo starts by cooking the farro with red onion, parsley and a clove of garlic, perfuming the grains with the aromatics as they cook. Juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and briny kalamatas break up any potential monotony, and diced red onion, basil and parsley keep the dish from feeling heavy. For the dressing, she combines olive oil, a little honey and two different vinegars (we love how the cleaner, more bracing tang of red wine vinegar cuts through the sticky, caramel notes of the balsamic); the rich, nutty farro takes to the sweet-sour vinaigrette like a moth to a flame. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course

  • 2 cups uncooked farro (or substitute barley)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • handful of fresh parsley plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup finely diced (about 1/4 "cubes) fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  1. Add the farro, one onion half, garlic, handful of parsley and salt along with 2 3/4 cups water to a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Discard the onion, garlic and large pieces of parsley. Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan and let cool completely (do not skip this step or the mozzarella will melt into the finished dish).
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegars and honey to prepare the dressing. Chop the remaining onion half finely. Add onion, cooled farro, mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of parsley and basil to a deep bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir well to combine, using a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve, but can also be made and stored in the fridge, covered, one day ahead.

More Great Recipes: Picnics|Rice & Grains|Salads|Side Dishes|Basil

💬 View Comments ()

Comments (44) Questions (2)


5 months ago lora789

My favorite healthy salad


about 1 year ago Stephanie

I just made this for my work lunch as I made dinner tonight. Had to sneak a bite - Delish!! Thank you :)


about 2 years ago Xtinabytes

I made this for the second time tonight. Subbed a salty sheep's milk feta for the mozzarella. Was divine!


about 2 years ago Socalgal52

This is great! I substituted quinoa for the barley to make it gluten free and up the protein.


about 2 years ago koc

Delicious! My family loved it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.


almost 4 years ago jilladavis

Loved this salad. What a hit with the relatives! I made a sling change. I substituted goat cheese for the mozzarella, added roasted asparagus and used lemon juice and olive oil for the dressing. This is my new favorite.

Thanks for the inspiration Jennifer. This was my first time using farro thanks to you!


almost 4 years ago Robb

Added cucumber instead of olives. Outstanding recipe.


about 4 years ago venguyen

Thank you for this recipe! I subbed jicama because I don't like raw onions.


over 3 years ago melissamachete

Have you tried rinsing the onions? I do this when i want texture and a little bit of the onion flavor, but I don't want to over power the other flavors. You end up with a very mild onion flavor.


about 4 years ago MaryDD

I made this a day ahead and took it camping. Delicious! Everyone thought it was so fresh and zesty after having the usual slightly unhealthy camp fare ( hot dogs, burgers etc..) I made it with barley as I couldnt find farro.


about 4 years ago laurava

I could tell that my 20 something year olds sons were skeptical when I served this dish. I marinated and grilled chicken to add to the dish. It was a big hit! I found the farro at our local Whole Foods. Thank you for the recipe.


about 4 years ago jskemom

I was able to find a large bag of organic pearled farro at Costco in San Diego FYI.


about 4 years ago jskemom

I was able to find a large bag of organic pearled farro at Costco in San Diego FYI.


about 4 years ago fitsxarts

this is really delicious! definitely a keeper.


over 4 years ago HandRocksLadle

What an amazing, and healthy recipe! Made it last night to go alongside dinner and my fiance raved about it. Brought leftovers to work today for my co-workers to try and they loved it too! Will definitely be adding this to my summer salad rotation -- thank you for sharing!


almost 5 years ago Jennifer Perillo

Wow, I am always amazed at the wonderful group of people that have been drawn together through Food52. After a little midnight browsing, I saw the string of comments, and it was so heartwarming to hear how this one little recipe has created raves and new avenues for creativity and looking at ingredients in a new light in your own homes.

I feel touched knowing I've shared a meal in some small way with each of you. Thank you for welcoming me into your kitchens.


about 5 years ago Dedegumbert

Loved it. I used fresh mozzarella pearls and local " sweet 100 " cherry tomatoes. My husband loved it as well!


about 5 years ago TinaMiB

This was the most amazing recipe!! A mix of caprese salad and farro. My family is already wanting me to make it again. It is amazing! Our local grocery store makes handmade mozzarella daily. The only change I will make next time is add more olives and instead of mincing them, keep them a little bigger. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

I lucked out and our Whole Foods had farro. The lady checking me out said it had to be new because she had never seen or heard of it before.


about 5 years ago Julia Alling

Second time on my menu. Didn't have tomatoes nor mozzarella. Substituted parmesan and peaches add the other half of a roasted red onion (left over from a Bittman guacamole). Delightful. This recipe has provided me a new platform for using vegetables... thank you.


about 5 years ago laura21

this recipe was good but I failed to notice the indication that it serves 12 people. now I have so much of this stuff I dont know what to do with it. seriously, I could have mixed the salad in the bathtub I had so much barley ( I used barley instead)


about 5 years ago ncavillones

I could eat it all day, every day so if you don't want it, send it along! LOL Or Foist it on a neighbor.


about 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Healthierkitchen, that's good to know about the difference in cooking times. Sounds like what's marketed as "farro" (at about five times the cost per pound, incidentally) cooks up a lot more quickly. I always pre-soak my whole grains by boiling them for a minute or two in the morning, covering, and then cooking them up in the evening, so it's never been a problem for me. Thanks! ;o)


about 5 years ago healthierkitchen

That's a great idea! thirschfeld also recommended a soaking method in the string of posts on Merrill's farro dish. Farro can be pricey, but as laura21 noted, two cups serves a party.