Serves a Crowd

Deb Perelman’s Winter Slaw With Farro

January  2, 2018
35 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Deb Perelman had yearned for a grain salad with an inverted proportion of grains to vegetables for some time before tasting the inspiration for this one at the West Village restaurant Via Carota. Finally, she felt more confident to make her own. Since then, she’s seen scant proportions of grains peek through in other restaurant salads (often fried freekah for toasty, popcorn-like crunch) and made all sorts of variations herself. She loves switching in walnuts and “diced pillowy bits of Taleggio or Robiola instead of Parmesan cheese.” You can also swap any dried fruit for the apricot.
Adapted very slightly from Smitten Kitchen Every Day (Knopf, 2017). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup (100g) finely diced dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 small-medium (2 pounds or a bit less than 1kg) head green cabbage
  • 1 1/3 cups (145g) cooked farro, cooled (from about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 1/3 cup (45g) roughly chopped roasted almonds
  • 2 ounces (55g) Parmesan, thinly shaved on a grater with a vegetable peeler
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
  1. Place the apricots in a small bowl with the vinegar, and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Cut the cabbage in half, and remove the core (and eat the core as a crunchy snack); then cut the halves again so you have quarters. With a mandolin or a knife, slice the cabbage into very thin ribbons. You’ll have about 12 cups total, which will seem ridiculous, but it will wilt down with dressing on it. Pile it into your largest bowl.
  3. Add to the bowl the apricots and their vinegar, the farro, almonds, and most of the Parmesan, plus the olive oil, salt, and a good helping of freshly ground pepper. Toss to combine, and try to give it 15 minutes to let the ingredients settle a little before making seasoning adjustments; then add more vinegar, Parmesan, oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Perelman emphasizes this: "With so few ingredients and most of them fairly mildly flavored, you cannot skimp on seasoning or texture; I hope everyone toasts their almonds well and uses salt and pepper until all the flavors are lifted/present."
  4. Heap the slaw on plates in piles, and top with remaining Parmesan. The slaw's textures are best for serving to company at this point, but this will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge for great take-to-work lunches.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • diaday
  • Anne
  • Margaret Govoni-Kasch
    Margaret Govoni-Kasch
  • Tenely Smith
    Tenely Smith
  • Jeffrey Breaux
    Jeffrey Breaux
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

33 Reviews

NXL February 7, 2024
This tasted a little flat to me, even though I love each of the components. I added the juice of half a lemon, one finely chopped scallion, and a little more salt. I enjoyed it even more!
Ginger S. February 5, 2023
Delicious! Mine came out quite a bit lighter in color. I used Napa green cabbage. Definitely a “keeper” for me, thanks!
diaday January 26, 2023
Quite a few years ago, I was in Dallas and got a salad that had quinoa in it along with lettuce, feta cheese, dried fruits, toasted almonds, other veggies, with a rice wine vinaigrette. I had never had a salad that had a grain in it. I took a photo of the salad description and now it's in my handwritten recipe book. I call it Dallas Salad. Lots of creations with this over the years. It's a great clean-out-the-veggie-bin salad!
Anne January 25, 2023
This salad is delicious! I make it all year round. It will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. To make it a bit faster, I use a bag of pre-cut coleslaw, extra vinegar with the apricots, lots of shaved Parmesan cheese, and sliced roasted almonds with a heavy sprinkle of coarse sea salt. So yummy!
Hogan5 April 11, 2022
Didnt have time to cook the farro, so skipped it and it was still delicious! Only had grated Parmesan, and added some cilantro and green onions for color. So good, cant wait to make it again, next time will plan ahead for the farro.
Renee B. December 10, 2021
Could this be an entree, or is it strictly side dish? It sounds delicious. A couple vegetarians will be visiting and I'm working on potential entrees and sides.
Margaret G. April 18, 2021
This was good, if not great. I didn’t have apricots, so I used currents. I’d also like to try dates. I made the farro in my instant pot with chicken broth. I measured out a full cup of farro. I would use less vinegar next time, and add a squirt of lemon juice for brightness.
Margaret G. April 18, 2021
Just ate leftovers. Went from good to great!
Anne October 28, 2019
This salad is great and I make it regularly. A few tweaks to make it faster - I use a bag of ready-cut coleslaw and use white balsamic vinegar to soak the apricots then just lots of extra roasted almonds and parmesan cheese. This keeps well in the refrigerator for several days (if it lasts that long).
EF March 27, 2019
Easy and delicious, tastes even better the next day. I did not have white wine vinegar, so I used unseasoned rice wine vinegar. Doubled the amount of farro, and topped with shaved Pecorino Romano cheese. This is a keeper!
Tenely S. March 8, 2019
Finally tried this. It's fantastic. Bright and spring-like, yet hearty and satisfying. Next time I will add red pepper and scallions to boost the appearance (without compromising the great taste)
Jennifer M. March 6, 2019
This is incredible. Don't be wary of the ingredient combinations - the crunch, the sweet, the sour.. it all works together fabulously.

If you want it GF, we used oat groats from the bulk section and cooked in the instant pot (20 minutes from dried). Give them time to cool down in the fridge/freezer before adding it so probably start them first while prepping cabbage.

For more protein, also pressure cooked chicken in onion, carrots, etc to pair with it. Preferred plain chicken to avoid competing with the fabulous flavors in the salad itself. Pressure cooking chicken makes it very tender.
Elizabeth February 25, 2019
Love the blend of flavors here—this is a new workweek staple for sure! We've got a similar slaw right now at City Barbeque: smoked farro, cranberries, kale ( ... it's incredible and between this one and ours I am now pretty much on an all-farro-slaw diet. Thanks!
Jeffrey B. January 28, 2019
Just made this with red cabbage, roasted almonds, ladotyri (greek olive oil cured hard sheeps milk cheese), soaked and drained bulgur wheat and vinegar soaked chopped craisans and currants. DAMN this wheat cabbage fruit cheese combo is the bomb. New winter salad under the belt. Hey there Kristen! Been a while since I've checked out Food52.
Kristen M. January 31, 2019
Hi Jeffrey—good to see you here! Glad you liked this one.
amy S. January 13, 2019
Obsessed. Used nappa cabbage for the dual textures, and left out the parm (though it would be delicious). Toasting the almonds is key. Will make this again and again.
Maureen January 3, 2019
This was so good. Dinner last night, lunch today and luckily there's still more for later!
J December 30, 2018
I just made this and enjoyed it. I like that it is healthy and agree that it will be great for several lunches.
Laura December 26, 2018
Tried this to take to a Christmas potluck and it was great. I used more farro and upped the quantities on the nuts and apricots. I used a head of cabbage but had a half of bag of cole slaw mix so I added that and it was great. The slaw mix made this an easy recipe.
eagleeye December 20, 2018
Made as in the recipe - great salad!
pottsy.1990 March 29, 2018
Such a fab salad. I love all the textures and the balance of sweet dried apricots and salty parmesan. Definitely toast your nuts well and season generously, as Deb suggests. I've been eating this all on its own for work lunches but it would be great as a side to simple grilled salmon or chicken thighs too.
Ellen D. March 15, 2018
Great for lunches, and I added some bacon too for a little extra crunch and protein.