Make Ahead

Farro, Golden Beet, and Feta Salad with​ ​Pecans and Chive-Sage Dressing

October  2, 2013
9 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This is a beautifully autumnal dish, although I admit to making it year-round. Farro is such a delicious grain​,​ and when paired with roasted golden beets, tangy feta, pecans glazed with maple, and cayenne​ and​ then dressed with a fresh herb dressing of chive-sage oil and lemon, ​it makes for a healthy side that bursts with flavor and seasonal freshness.​​ It adds a visual wow to your table too! —em-i-lis

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Em-i-lis is a stay-at-home mom and avid cook living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.
WHAT: A farro and beet side that ​'s just as ​​refreshing​ as it is hearty
HOW: While the beets are roasting in the oven, cook the farro.​ Meanwhile,​ cook the chives and sage in a saucepan with olive oil and lemon juice ​and, in another pan, coat the pecans in warm maple syrup. Toss the cooked farro​ and​ chopped beets​ together with​ ​the pecans and some ​crumbled feta​ ​pecans, then pour the warm herbed olive oil dressing over the mix.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This warm autumn salad -- hold the lettuce -- is exactly the kind of thing we want to be eating while the temperature outside continues to drop. The herbed dressing paired with the farro and beets make it both filling and comforting, enough so that I enjoyed it as my main dish for dinner. If you can't find yellow beets, red beets work fine, though you'd be missing out on the bright addition this golden mix brings to your dinner table. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 golden beets
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • 1 dash (small) cayenne pepper
  • Piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta (preferably a good-quality tangy and creamy one in water so it's not too dry)
  1. Preheat the oven to 385° F. Wash and trim (but don’t peel) the beets, and wrap them individually in foil or place them snugly in a small baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Cook 35 to 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool until you can peel them. Peel and chop into 1/2-inch cubes, then set aside.
  2. In the meantime, pour the broth into a 2-quart saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. When it’s boiling, pour in the farro, reduce the heat so that you can maintain a nice simmer, and cook until just on the tender side of al dente, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  3. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan until very warm. Remove from heat and add the chopped chives and sage as well as 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, the lemon juice, and at least 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk together and then let rest until you need it.
  4. In a small skillet set over medium heat, add the pecans. When the skillet is warm, pour in the maple syrup and the dash of cayenne. Stir continuously until the pecans are evenly coated and the syrup is bubbling nicely. Pour onto the sprayed sheet of foil and let cool.
  5. In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked farro, chopped beets, crumbled feta, and pecans. Whisk the herbed oil dressing again and pour it over the farro salad. Stir gently until well combined and add salt to taste.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shannon Jilbert
    Shannon Jilbert
  • Grace Aldridge
    Grace Aldridge
  • Kristen Blair Parrott
    Kristen Blair Parrott
  • 4aces
  • Sugartoast

44 Reviews

hlecuye January 17, 2023
If you need to save time, this recipe works great with canned beets.
Shannon J. May 11, 2022
love this farro beet salad. make sure you make extra spiced pecans.
Grace A. December 21, 2020
Yum! This turned out better than expected. I made the beets and farro a day ahead of time and just warmed them up for the final dish. The pecans are a must have for texture and sweetness, so don't skip those, but you could probably substitute walnuts and use the same process with the syrup if you needed to.
em-i-lis December 21, 2020
I'm so glad you enjoyed this! :)
danielle December 15, 2020
This was excellent! The Sage made it taste like stuffing! I added 1/2 chive infused oil to enhance the flavor. I would defiantly make this again.
em-i-lis December 16, 2020
I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Danielle! :)
Ceege September 23, 2020
Haven't made this yet, but farro is my favorite grain. This sounds like a dish I will really enjoy. I live in a very small town (Poland, OH) and I am pretty sure I will not be able to find golden beets. If so, what do you suggest I use in place of them. Thank you for some very delicious recipes.
em-i-lis September 23, 2020
Hi Ceege, You could use red beets and just be zen about color-bleed. :) Or carrots or butternut squash! Hope you enjoy!
rmandell September 23, 2020
I use roasted carrots in place of golden beets. I cut them in cubes and toss in olive oil and roast them and then add them to the salad.
nplante August 10, 2020
Even though this was suggested as an autumn dish, I made it in the summer. I couldn’t resist the irresistible combination of ingredients. This is a delicious salad and hearty enough for a main dish. I love the textures and flavors. I followed the recipe exactly as written. Yummy! Will make again.
Tammy R. December 30, 2019
Made it but haven’t tasted it yet. Use 2 1/2 cups broth to cook farro. Any less and it will burn while cooking for 20 min. You drain the broth any way. Would use chopped pecans next time as opposed to pecan halves.
Jacqueline June 4, 2019
Humm, so-so. Seemed a little wet. Flavor was pretty good. Served it on a bed of arugula. Needed something . . . maybe some grated lemon rind and a little more Feta. I’ll try it again with a few tweaks.
txchick57 December 10, 2017
Just made this. Absolutely superb. A permanent place in the meal rotation. Thanks!
em-i-lis December 10, 2017
Oh, fantastic! Thanks so much for letting me know. :) Glad it’s a hit!!
rmandell October 7, 2017
Made this again for a pot luck last night. Several people asked me for the recipe. I swapped out roasted carrots for beets and the effect is pretty similar. Fun introducing people to farro.
em-i-lis October 7, 2017
I'm so glad you enjoy this recipe, and I agree, spreading the word about farro is great!! :)
Niki June 2, 2016
OMG. This was insane. My husband told me to put it in the permanent archives. Haha. The only tweak I made was I put a tablespoon of maple into the dressing, and I used fresh thyme instead of sage. I can't WAIT to eat the leftovers today!
em-i-lis June 2, 2016
I'm SO thrilled y'all enjoyed this! I often add a bit of extra maple too. Enjoy today's leftovers!!
Kristen B. March 29, 2016
do you guys have the nutrition facts per serving for your recipes?
kay H. March 8, 2016
I treated this as a main dish adding chicken, red bell pepper, and spinach. I also spiced up the dressing a bit with lemon zest, more lemon, red pepper flakes, and garlic. yummy
em-i-lis March 8, 2016
So glad you made it your own and enjoyed it!
lauriw July 7, 2015
This requires a lot of steps for a salad but it is so delicious that it's worth every dirty dish!
em-i-lis July 8, 2015
I'm so glad you think so!! :) Thank you!
Erin.Quinn May 30, 2015
This salad is amazing. Even those who don't like beets loved this salad.
em-i-lis May 30, 2015
Hi Erin, I'm so thrilled that you like the salad! Thanks so much for trying it and for letting me know! Best, Emily
4aces January 19, 2015
full disclosure: this is alot of work for me to consider for a salad...having said! it was totally worth it! so delish! i'm always looking for ways to have more beets in my life & to use sage (underappreciated, imo) and this was just perfect! i'll be making this again. thank you for posting. :)
em-i-lis January 19, 2015
Hey there 4aces, I'm so glad you took the plunge and feel it's worth it. Agree with you on sage being underappreciated! This is one of my fave dishes, and I'm really happy you liked it too!
Chelsea P. January 17, 2015
Delish!! Thank you... I added chopped romaine, radicchio, and raw green beans for crunch and greenery as well as homemade tumeric-pickled fennel and onions.... yum yum!
em-i-lis January 17, 2015
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!!
Joelle L. December 23, 2019
Wow! Turmeric pickled fennel and onions, yummmmmmy
Sugartoast January 15, 2015
Yeah, congratulations!! Love this dish, and lucky me, I've had the pleasure of having it made by the chef herself :)
em-i-lis January 15, 2015
Aw, thanks! :)
Jess January 14, 2015
Love beets in all their guises, so I'm sure I'll love this. Question: what do you estimate the weight (or measuring cup) of the beets to be?
em-i-lis January 15, 2015
Hi Jess, About a pound of beets, give or take. It's fairly flexible, but that's usually the rough weight of what I include! :)
Jess January 15, 2015
Emily, thank you so much for your answer. I appreciate the info!
em-i-lis January 15, 2015
Of course! I hope you enjoy the salad!
AntoniaJames January 14, 2015
My kind of salad! I usually have beets (sometimes pickled, sometimes not, often some of each!) in my fridge this time of year, so I'm looking forward to making this, soon. (Bet the beet greens, sliced thinly and sauteed briefly in the pan used to warms the herbs, would make this even better.) Congrats on the Wildcard win. ;o)
em-i-lis January 14, 2015
Thanks, AJ! I hope you enjoy it!