As a salad grain, farro has a pleasantly chewy texture and a lovely nutty flavor. Even if you overcook it a bit, it doesn’t turn to mush like barley. This farro and artichoke salad is a fantastic showcase for a versatile grain. It’s definitely an impressive salad course to serve to guests or for a special weekend meal. It’s naturally vegan, of course!
Because this farro salad is so sturdy and brimming with marinated and briny flavors, including olives and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s a great choice for bringing to potluck; leftovers make a lively portable lunch packed into a container.
A bit about farro: Farro is an ancient grain, a form of wheat that’s renowned for its nutty, earthy flavor, and satisfying chewy texture. You’ll find it in well-stocked supermarkets; it’s often shelved in the Italian foods section, as it’s a beloved ingredient in that region’s cuisine. You’ll find lots more tips, info, and ways to use this versatile grain in this site’s Guide to Farro.
Tips for cooking farro
Farro usually comes packaged (as opposed to in bulk). Follow package directions more or less* since there are different varieties, like whole, pearl, semi-pearled, and quick-cooking. If you end up with a little less or a little more once it’s cooked, no worries — the salad will still be good!
*Cooking tip: No matter how much water the package directions say to use, add more. For example, I first made this salad with the kind of 7-ounce packages available in the Italian sections of supermarkets and the amount of water suggested wasn’t nearly enough.
I added at least an another cup of water (as well as the liquid from the marinated artichokes in this particular recipe. Once the farro was tender, I did have to drain off just a little liquid. But that’s the way most varieties of farro are cooked these days — in plenty of water, like pasta. Packages give guidelines on how long the farro needs to be cooked; usually, you’ll need to add 5 to 10 minutes to that time for the farro to be done, yet pleasantly chewy.
Serve with: This salad can be served as a first course before moving on to an uncomplicated soup. Super-Quick Butternut Squash Soup with Spinach and Peas is a shortcut soup that’s the very definition of easy, and compliments the salad nicely. Or, serve the salad side-by-side with a complementary protein dish like Peanut Satay Golden Tofu Triangles.
Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked farro (see Note), cooled to room temperature
- 12-ounce jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained (see Note)
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, in strips
- 2/3 cup black olives
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup bottled vinaigrette (or homemade, see link in Notes)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl and stir together. Let stand for 30 minutes or longer before serving. Or, combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, allow to stand for 30 minutes or longer, then transfer to a serving platter.
- Serve at room temperature.
*Cooking tip for farro: No matter how much water the package directions say to use, add more. The preferred way to cook farro these days is to cook it in plenty of water, like pasta, then drain once pleasantly chewy to your liking. See more cooking notes above recipe box.
If you don’t have cooked farro on hand before starting this recipe, you can drain the liquid from the jar of artichokes and add it to the water used for cooking the farro. It will add a nice flavor.
Here’s a recipe for Basic Vinaigrette if you’d like to make your own.
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Here are lots more easy and veg-centric salads & sides.