Dinner Tonight: Heidi Swanson's Olive and Farro Salad

June 21, 2016

Farro, the ancient grain that has made a modern-day comeback is hearty, with a tenderness that resembles that of rice, but with a little more body. The farro and and fat Castelvetrano olives make up most of the body of this grain salad from Heidi Swanson, but a couple of different kinds of fresh green alliums, a touch of sweetness from golden raisins and honey, and toasty walnuts round it out, making it a salad that speaks to every taste and texture—nutty! sweet! spicy! salty! briny! crunchy! chewy!—your tongue can decipher. And the flavors will continue to meld overnight—which means tomorrow's lunch will be very, very good. Which is why you should make it for dinner tonight:

Grocery List

Organized by area of the market

  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 lemon for juice
  • 1 pound fancy green olives, pitted
  • Shaved parmesan cheese or ricotta for serving (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole or semi-pearled farro
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnut halves

We're assuming you already have sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, but if not, add them to your list too!

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The Game Plan

About 30 minutes before dinner, add salt, farro, and 3 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir, cover pot with a lid, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain any excess water and set aside.

Roughly pit and chop the olives and place them in a medium bowl with remaining ingredients (walnuts, green onions, chives, red pepper flakes, jalapeño, honey, lemon juice, raisins) and a pinch of salt.

Just before sitting down, combine the farro and the olive mixture. Add additional salt and lemon juice to taste. Top off with Parmesan shavings or dollop generously with ricotta cheese! (Or both!)

See the full recipe here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • carlos
  • bluejeangourmet
  • Briana Riddock
    Briana Riddock
Freelance Food Writer


carlos July 2, 2017
This recipe has no print icon, am I missing it?
Briana R. July 2, 2017
hmm I don't see it either, but if you go straight to the recipe, you can print it there.
bluejeangourmet June 21, 2016
Thank you for the lunch inspiration! I had some leftover quinoa in my fridge, which I used in place of the farro, and since I'm out of walnuts, I subbed in pine nuts. Light but very satisfying.
Briana R. June 21, 2016
Yay! Great way to improvise!