Make Ahead

Summer Farro Salad

August  2, 2021
39 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Summer Farro Salad
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Arlene Lencioni
    Arlene Lencioni
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Linda Evangelides
    Linda Evangelides
  • Judi Lowell-Riley
    Judi Lowell-Riley
  • KvellintheKitchen
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).

65 Reviews

Lisajoann September 4, 2022
I’m a new to farro. This salad helped me love it more. I had all the ingredients except the olives and I didn’t miss them. It was a huge hit. I had doubled the recipe. I love to snack the leftovers is perfect for a snack. Has the bite the cheese the acid. Perfect. I’ll be by making several more times. Ps. I used the dressing measurements as a guide less honey for me and more balsamic.
lrwalker70 June 6, 2022
This was delicious and a perfect summer time salad. I made it per the recipe tonight but can't to add my own twist!
Arlene L. June 4, 2022
I've been making different versions of this salad for years and it is indeed highly nutritious and very popular with everybody. It's also really flexible, as you can add all kinds of different vegetable variations. I think it should be mentioned though that that the recipe is slightly misleading. Natural farro takes a really long time to cook, as much as 45 minutes. But, in the United States, it is usually sold pearled, which shortens the cooking time, although it reduces the amount of fiber somewhat. It is only special quick cooking farro which cooks in 10 minutes.
Wldflwor April 12, 2022
My husband and I loved this recipe! Great for a side dish or as a meal on it's own! I added more klalamata and used diced tomato. I used barely as well. Simply Delicious!
NXL July 8, 2021
Found this recipe to use some mozzarella I made in cheese-making class and LOVE it! I was worried the farro would be too chewy, but it's perfect. Only change was adding some chopped pepperocini.
Taylor S. March 28, 2021
Incredible! Can't go wrong with this dish.
nplante August 20, 2020
Delicious healthy salad. Made as directed. Will make it again.
Tucsonmom June 29, 2020
This is one of our new favorites! When the temperatures are above 100 degrees day after day, I am always looking for a great summer salad and this is one of those!. I made it as written first time since then I add cucumber, feta instead of mozzarella and double the kalamata olives.
Tane D. June 18, 2020
This was delicious! Made it exactly per recipe, but may add cucumbers next time for a little extra summer crunch.
Veggiegirl June 14, 2020
This salad was tasty and easy to make but to say this serves 8 to 12 is a stretch. Since I was making this for just two, I halved it and had to add a can of black beans to it so we could have two servings and a modest amount of leftovers. Where do you get these numbers?
I had the same problem trying to figure out how much olive oil was called for but chose to go with 3/4 cup ( halved ) since this was a recipe for up to 12.
nivek3 June 11, 2020
Can anyone see how much olive oil is in this recipe? No matter what browser or computer I view this from, the amount is cut off. There is a pretty big difference from 1/4 to 3/4 oil.
koc June 11, 2020
I saved the recipe as a PDF years ago when I first started making it. Olive oil was listed as "scant 1/4 cup". Great recipe! Still make it often.
Judi L. June 14, 2020
I make this recipe a lot and never pour all the dressing on at once. I drizzle on as it states when I make it and hold on to the rest to drizzle on as we eat the salad. It's 1/4 cup or less, your taste.
Linda E. August 16, 2019
how much olive oil???
berkopat August 12, 2019
Can't see how much olive oil. Is it 1/4 cup?
selena August 5, 2019
I had a bag of farro in my pantry so I gave it a try. We like the slightly chewy texture of the grain cooked this way. I switched feta for the mozzarella as I had it in the fridge. I also added some cucumber to really make it a summer salad. Flavor liked by everyone.
Judi L. July 22, 2019
I made as is and it was delicious.
Gabriella L. July 2, 2019
Absolutely one of the best recipes I've made! So filling and tasty!
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