There’s no end to small tweaks and variations for making this classic Middle Eastern recipe, as this farro tabbouleh salad demonstrates. Sometimes spelled tabbouli, it’s traditionally made with bulgur (cracked wheat), this simple grain salad is often varied with quinoa, but now we return close to its origins by using farro, an ancient, hearty variety of wheat.
Explore some of the variations, including adding legumes to make a high-protein main-dish salad, or a few optional additions to make a yummy salad even tastier.
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.
Fittingly, as far as this particular recipe goes, farro originated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent, a stretch of land encompassing modern day Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan, and the northern-easternmost part of Egypt. You’ll find lots more tips, info, and ways to use this versatile grain in this site’s Guide to Farro.
What you need: No matter what grain is used, tabbouleh doesn’t require many ingredients. Basically, all you need is the cooked grain (in this case farro), tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, mint, onion (or scallion), a good olive oil, and salt and pepper.
Optional ingredients: To step up the flavors, you can add briny olives and/or vegan feta. For extra protein, chickpeas are a perfect addition.
For cooking the grain: Farro usually comes packaged (as opposed to in bulk). Follow package directions for cooking, 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!
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups cooked farro (see Notes), at room temperature
- 3 medium firm, ripe tomatoes, finely diced, or 1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halves
- 1/2 English (hothouse) cucumber or 1 smallish regular (unwaxed) cucumber, finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, or more, to taste
- A few sprigs worth of fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (or use 2 to 3 scallions for a less oniony flavor)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as desired
- Juice of 1 large lemon, or more, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional additions (use any or all)
- 1/2 cup finely diced vegan feta
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced olives (black or green)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- Combine the main ingredients in a serving dish and mix well.
- Stir in any of the optional ingredients you plan to use.
- Cover and let stand for 30 minute or so before serving if time allows to allow the flavors to meld. But if you’re in a hurry to eat, dig in!
Follow package directions for cooking, 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! It’s good to cook the farro ahead of time so it can cool to room temperature.
If you like this Middle Eastern-inspired salad, you may also enjoy …
Explore more tasty, hearty farro salads
See lots more fresh vegetable-filled salads & side dishes.