This is a variation of our grain salad base recipe. Full of vibrant colors and fresh vegetables, this warm farro salad recipe is pleasing to both the eye and the palate. The combination of ingredients in this recipe also create a little taste of spring!
Are Grain Salads Healthy?
This grain salad features farro, spring vegetables, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing – all healthy ingredients!
Whole grains like farro are a good source of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber is important for digestion, satiety, stable blood sugar, good cholesterol, and healthy gut bacteria. Phytochemicals work as antioxidants to help fight off diseases and keep us well.
Just like whole grains, vegetables are a good source of fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Different colored vegetables provide different phytochemicals, so consuming a variety of colors is ideal. This recipe features seasonal spring vegetables – asparagus and sugar snap peas. Using seasonal produce maximizes taste, nutrition, and price!
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
A healthy vinaigrette dressing made from extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar adds flavor and nutrition. The fats and oils in vinaigrette help your body absorb certain nutrients in the salad, so avoid fat-free varieties. For optimal nutrition, make the balsamic vinaigrette yourself.
Culinary Tips for the Perfect Warm Farro Salad
Use leftover cooked farro or look for quick cooking varieties to make the recipe come together faster. For added nuttiness, toast the farro before adding water.
Asparagus stems have a natural breaking point. Bend the stem end, and it will snap off at the perfect spot, leaving the woody part behind.
Be sure you use a small garlic clove; raw garlic can be very overpowering.
This recipe features a technique called blanching, where you briefly submerge a food (in this case asparagus and snap peas) in boiling water. The goal is not to cook them, but to brighten their colors! Dunking them in an ice bath stops the cooking process and prevents the vegetables from turning an unappealing olive green color. A cooking tool called a spider is ideal for fishing the asparagus and snap peas out of the boiling water.
- Farro: any whole grain will work, but we recommend against using oats. Choose intact whole grains that keep their shape like brown rice, quinoa, barley, and spelt. Refined grains like white rice can be subbed, but the salad won’t be as nutritious.
- Vegetables: we recommend sticking to fresh vegetables for this recipe, but frozen can be substituted if necessary. If asparagus isn’t in season, green beans are a good substitute!
- Shallot: can substitute red onion.
- Fresh Dill: can substitute other herbs such as basil or parsley. However, we highly recommend dill; it compliments the spring vegetables very well!
- Dressing: any vinaigrette dressing can work. Pesto would also be delicious in this recipe.
Want a little more protein? Add some navy or garbanzo beans.
Want a bit more crunch? Mix in some toasted nuts or sunflower seeds.
Need some recipe inspiration?
Check out these other grain salad recipes!
Although technically a warm farro salad, this recipe can also be served cold as a light meal or as a side to another dish, like our baked pesto salmon.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Consider adding the tomatoes on the day you plan to eat the salad.
Want some more healthy salad recipes?
Check out these easy, healthy recipe ideas!
This simple Warm Farro Salad features the flavors of spring! Asparagus, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and dill with creamy feta are a perfect combination.
- 1 cup farro
- 3 cups water (may sub vegetable stock)
- 6 stalks asparagus
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup sugar snap peas
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
- 1 small shallot, diced (~1/4 cup)
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup homemade or store-bought balsamic vinaigrette
- Salt & pepper to taste
Rinse and drain farro. Place in a pot and add water or vegetable stock. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes or until al dente (tender but firm). Drain off any excess liquid. Place in a large bowl to cool slightly.
Snap off woody ends of asparagus and cut into one-inch pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas in half.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add asparagus and sugar snap peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Immediately drain and submerge in an ice bath. Once cool, drain.
Place vegetables, feta cheese, chopped herbs, shallot, and garlic in the bowl with the slightly cooled farro. Add vinaigrette. Using a spatula, fold until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
For added nuttiness, toast the farro in the pot before adding the water.
Look for quick cooking varieties at your local grocery store. Quick-cooking farro is ready in just 10 minutes!