Summer Farro Salad

Test Kitchen-Approved

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 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
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min


  • 2 cups uncooked farro (or substitute barley)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful 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
  • 1 pinch freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • `/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
In This Recipe


  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:
Salad|American|Honey|Mozzarella|Tomato|Vinegar|Parsley|Grains|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Sheet Pan|Outdoor Entertaining

Reviews (47) Questions (2)

47 Reviews

rlsalvati July 18, 2017
Great recipe. From now on I will always make farro with half an onion, garlic, and parsley, even when I'm not using it in this dish!
KvellintheKitchen June 19, 2017
So delish! Made this for a 25 person fathers day bbq and it was a huge hit. My favorite part of the recipe was cooking the onions, garlic and parsley with the farro—it gave such a rich, broth-like consistency to the grain and visa versa (I couldn't stop eating the boiled onions and parsley I was supposed to be discarding). I added chopped raw zucchini, as I had just picked up my first local batch from the NYC farmers market. It melded perfectly with the rest of the Italian/Mediterranean flavors.
Jelena September 25, 2016
I'm a little late to the party, but this recipe was amazing - so well balanced, and I loved the strong olive flavour. I made it a second time, substituting bulgur and it came it out just as good.
lora789 March 23, 2015
My favorite healthy salad
Stephanie August 28, 2014
I just made this for my work lunch as I made dinner tonight. Had to sneak a bite - Delish!! Thank you :)
Xtinabytes July 19, 2013
I made this for the second time tonight. Subbed a salty sheep's milk feta for the mozzarella. Was divine!
Socalgal52 July 13, 2013
This is great! I substituted quinoa for the barley to make it gluten free and up the protein.
koc July 13, 2013
Delicious! My family loved it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
jilladavis September 4, 2011
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. <br /> <br />Thanks for the inspiration Jennifer. This was my first time using farro thanks to you!
Robb September 4, 2011
Added cucumber instead of olives. Outstanding recipe.
venguyen August 28, 2011
Thank you for this recipe! I subbed jicama because I don't like raw onions.
melissamachete February 2, 2012
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.
MaryDD August 24, 2011
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.
laurava August 15, 2011
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.
jskemom August 3, 2011
I was able to find a large bag of organic pearled farro at Costco in San Diego FYI.
jskemom August 3, 2011
I was able to find a large bag of organic pearled farro at Costco in San Diego FYI.
fitsxarts June 27, 2011
this is really delicious! definitely a keeper.
HandRocksLadle April 8, 2011
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!
Author Comment
Jennifer P. September 19, 2010
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. <br /><br />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.
Dedegumbert August 15, 2010
Loved it. I used fresh mozzarella pearls and local " sweet 100 " cherry tomatoes. My husband loved it as well!
TinaMiB July 29, 2010
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.<br /><br />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.<br /><br />