Farro with Greens, Tahini Sauce, and Toasted Pine Nuts

June 22, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

Adapted from a favorite Ottolenghi recipe for Swiss Chard with Buttered Pine nuts, this take both simplifies and complicates things: grains have been added to make it more of a meal, but the greens are kept raw (as opposed to sautéed as in the original recipe). The tahini sauce has been simplified a bit, too, by removing the yogurt.

Farro: I've been using the 10-minute farro from Trader Joe's — it has a nice, chewy texture. It does seem to take more like 15 minutes to cook, which is fine. When choosing, look at the label — it might say pearled or semi-pearled, but just look at the suggested cooking time. Ideally look for one that cooks in 25 minutes or less.

If you don't like the zing of raw garlic, omit it, or boil it for one minute before mincing it. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1.5 cups par-cooked farro, see notes above
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 3 to 5 ounces greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, arugula
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, optional, see notes above
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the farro and a big pinch of salt (I add 1 tablespoon). Cook according to package instruction but taste before draining — my 10-minute Trader Joe’s farro consistently takes 15 minutes. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the greens from the stems (if using kale or chard), then slice very finely — you can chiffonade the leaves (stack leaves on top of each other, roll them into a tight coil, then cut down to make long thin strips) but consider cutting the thin strips into smaller pieces as well. You want small pieces of greens here. Place the greens in the bowl with the farro, add ¼ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and fresh-cracked pepper to taste. Squeeze half of the lemon into the bowl catching the seeds with your hand. Toss, taste, and adjust with more salt or pepper to taste—I usually add another quarter teaspoon of salt and sometimes more. The farro and greens should taste slightly lemony and nicely seasoned, but nothing spectacular—remember that the magic happens when the grains and greens meet the tahini sauce. At this point, you can chill the farro and greens until you are ready to serve.
  3. Make the tahini sauce: Stir together the tahini, remaining ¼ cup olive oil, juice of remaining half lemon, ¼ teaspoon salt, maple syrup, garlic, if using, and 2 tablespoons water. Add more water by the tablespoon. Dressing should be pourable—I typically add another 2 tablespoons water. Taste and adjust with more salt, lemon, or maple syrup to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or set directly on the table.
  4. In a medium skillet over medium (or higher) heat, stir the pine nuts until golden all around. Do not walk away from the skillet—if you stand there the entire time, you can get away with using higher heat for a shorter period of time.
  5. When ready to serve, spoon the greens and grains into bowls, drizzle the tahini sauce over top, and sprinkle pine nuts over top as well. Pass more sauce and pine nuts on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jocelyn Grayson
    Jocelyn Grayson
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Naomi Grunzeweig
    Naomi Grunzeweig
  • Tracie
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

18 Reviews

Lorelei May 13, 2024
I made this with greens from my garden and made a few changes:
I used Runamok pecan-smoked maple syrup which I find more savory than I do sweet!
I used a spoonful of liquid from a preserved lemon jar instead of lemon juice.
I used herb-infused olive oil.
I sub out most of the pine nuts for sesame seeds since pine nuts are so darn expensive here.
Super healthy, tasty and filling. Extremely filling actually!! I probably ate a quarter cup of it and I was stuffed!
Mary-Gay September 29, 2018
Hi Alexandra! Just made this for the second time...great way to use up the arugula that always seems to accumulate my fridge! This time I used roasted, shelled pistachios and added some chopped dried cranberries...turned out great!
Jocelyn G. April 8, 2018
Does the quantity of farro mean I should start with 1 1/2 cups of raw farro and parboil that or that I need 1 1/2 cups of parboiled farro. If it’s the latter, how much should i start with?
Alexandra S. April 8, 2018
Hi Jocelyn! Start with 1.5 cups raw farro — look for farro that is "parboiled". It will help the cooking process along substantially. Scroll through the photos up top ... I have packs of the TJ's brand on hand for ease. Hope this helps!
Taylor S. January 15, 2018
So tasty! Kind of reminds of the one pot quinoa/kale/goat cheese recipe that's so popular on here! Delicious by itself or with the dressing.
Alexandra S. January 15, 2018
Wonderful to hear this, Taylor!
Naomi G. November 7, 2017
This was so delicious! I kept the dressing on the thicker side, adding only a bit of extra lemon juice. I used almond slivers instead of pine nuts, and I added some hemp hearts for extra texture and protein. I'm wondering what else can be added to increase the protein...maybe a sunny egg?
Alexandra S. November 7, 2017
So happy to hear this Naomi! Love the sound of your additions/changes. YES to a sunny egg or poached or jammy or whatever your heart desires. Somehow I think crispy chickpeas would be good here, too.
Tracie July 4, 2017
This was so delicious and very easy to make! Came out perfect.
Alexandra S. July 6, 2017
So happy to hear this, Tracie!
Nomnomnom July 1, 2017
I made this last night. It was delicious. But I had some trouble with the dressing, which separated when I added the water as described. I got it to come back together again adding more lemon and maple, but it ended up quite thick and I wonder if there is a trick I don't know about. Thanks!
Alexandra S. July 6, 2017
This happens to me sometimes, too. I find I can get it to re-emulsify if I add water slowly and whisk vigorously. The sauce thickens as it sits, so I am always needing to add water or lemon to correct the consistency. I don't think there's any other trick, but I'll look into it!
Nomnomnom August 1, 2017
Thanks! I think I'll give it another go tonight and see if it happens again.
ellen June 26, 2017
Another Ottolenghi home run! Eating it now- so good! I think walnuts would work just as well if you don't have/like pine nuts...
Alexandra S. June 27, 2017
So happy to hear this, Ellen!
Jr0717 June 23, 2017
I love Ottolenghi, and this is a perfect lazy-night meal for me...I'd eat tahini in and on anything, so I understand his devotion!

In a pinch, if without pine nuts, any suggestions on a suitable stand-in?

Alexandra S. June 25, 2017
Hey Jessica! I think any nut would be fine, really, but walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts in particular would be good. Hope you are well!
Jr0717 June 25, 2017
Hi Ali! Good to know - I've got walnuts on hand, so I'll try those. As usual, I'm sure it'll be another winning recipe!!

Thank you, and I hope you are doing well, too!