Burnt Broccoli Farro With Smashed Olives

November 11, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food stylist: Ericka Martins. Prop stylist: Alya Hameedi.
Author Notes

Farro, an ancient grain with a nutty flavor and a dense texture and bite, is ideal for grain salad bowls like this one as it excels in soaking up dressing and is hearty without being heavy. Here, it’s tossed with a lemon-tahini dressing while hot and then mixed with broccoli and olives. The olives appear in two forms, first blistered along with the bite-sized pieces of broccoli in the pan, and then raw to add more texture and different flavors. Cooking the olives softens their bite while enhancing their flavors, making them plump and juicy. I love the mix of the two. Finished with a sprinkling of feta and quickie lime-pickled red onions, the dish gains an extra bit of creaminess and acidic crunch. Make it for dinner tonight and save some for lunch the next day.

Some housekeeping:

Use the farro cooking time to cut the onion and broccoli to be more efficient as you’ll have down time as it cooks. If you like a more pickled onion, then you can pickle it first so it sits longer with the lime juice.

The important thing here is to cut the broccoli into tiny pieces so that they cook quickly: think trunkless treetops when you look at them and ones you can truly eat in a bite. You can cook the stems, too, just add them to the pan a little earlier or cook separately if it’s too crowded.

To smash olives: On a cutting board, press the heel of your hand on the flat side of your knife to flatten the olive. The pit will either pop out or you can remove the flesh with your fingers. —yasminfahr

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small head broccoli, florets cut into small, bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup castelvetrano olives, smashed and pits removed, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Let cook, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until the farro is soft and not chewy, about 30 minutes. Drain and return to the pot or to a serving bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the red onions with the lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt (they won’t be submerged, and that’s okay). Set aside at room temperature and toss occasionally.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, add the broccoli and half the olives, season with salt and red-pepper flakes, stir and then let sit in an even layer untouched for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook until the broccoli is browned on the other side and fork tender and the olives blistered in spots, 2 to 3 minutes more. (Larger pieces will take longer.) Set aside until the farro is done.
  4. Transfer 2 tablespoons of liquid from the pickled onions to a small mixing bowl or in the bottom of a serving bowl. Combine with the tahini and 3 tablespoons olive oil, whisking until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Pour the dressing over the farro in the pot or transfer it to the serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Season with salt as needed. Add the broccoli, cooked olives and remaining olives, then top with the feta and pickled onions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • yasminfahr
  • HangryJo
  • Pikushabeer
  • maryw
Yasmin is a recipe developer and cookbook author. Her first book, Keeping it Simple, is full of easy, weeknight one-pot recipes. Say hi to her online @yasminfahr!

4 Reviews

HangryJo November 20, 2021
Just made this for dinner and we loved it. A bit salty but I wouldn't want to cut down on the feta or the olives so I might up the farro in the proportion next time, not sure, except that there will definitely be a next time. I used vegan feta but otherwise made the recipe as-is.
Pikushabeer November 17, 2021
This is something great , will definitely share my experience at
maryw November 13, 2021
Could you use something other than feta? That always tastes like wet chalk to me.
Author Comment
yasminfahr November 15, 2021
Fresh mozzarella torn into bite-sized pieces would also work here! Maybe goat cheese, too. Let us know what you think!