A bright bowl of tuscan farro salad.
Plant-based, Salads

Tuscan farro salad

4 comments

Tuscan farro salad with cucumbers and tomatoes is a light and healthy alternative to traditional potato salad. It’s perfect for picnics and makes a great side dish for summer cookouts.

A bright bowl of tuscan farro salad.
Farro is an ancient form of wheat

What is farro?

Farro, like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Farro is an ancient form of wheat that was a staple food in ancient Rome. It is high in protein and has a nutty flavor. It has a somewhat chewy texture which lends itself well to adding it to salads, soups and stews.

A tray of ingredients for Tuscan farro salad.
Ingredients for Tuscan farro salad

Tuscan farro salad offers a fresh burst of flavors and textures. This salad features crunchy English cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and fresh basil. I make this salad with a delicious homemade red wine vinaigrette recipe. Making your own red wine vinaigrette makes this salad fresh, tasty and preservative free.

Farro is high in protein, B vitamins and low in gluten.

A close up of dried farro grain being held.
Pearled farro up close

How do you cook farro?

This ancient grain has recently been rediscovered again and is growing in popularity. Farro is relatively easy to cook and can be found in fine grocery stores or online. Because there are different forms of farro (whole, pearled and semi-pearled), it’s best to follow the cooking directions as provided on the back of the package.

However, here are a few general cooking tips to keep in mind:

  • Farro is very forgiving. Unlike rice, it won’t really overcook or become mushy.
  • Unlike rice, farro doesn’t expand or increase in size too much once cooked.
  • It will take approximately 25-30 minutes on the stove-top to cook farro.
  • If you have excess water after this cooking time and the texture has turned soft and chewy, simply drain the farro like you would pasta.
  • Like pasta, it is best to add salt to the water when cooking farro so it absorbs into the grain.
  • Adding butter or olive oil to the water is optional and a good idea if you plan to simply eat farro alone as a side dish. Like rice, this adds flavor.

I chose a “pearled” form of farro or in Italian “Farro Perlato.”

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Recommended products:

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Farro

Directions for how to cook farro

  • Measure 1 1/2 cups farro.
  • Rinse the grain in a fine mesh strainer.
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove-top. (Can also be a combination of broth and water).
  • Add a generous pinch of salt. If you intend to eat the farro plain as a side dish (like rice), it’s good to add 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil (optional). Skip this step in preparing this farro salad recipe because it is seasoned further after it has cooled.
  • Cook the farro for 25-30 minutes or until it becomes softer and chewy in texture. Drain if necessary.
Tuscan farro salad is great for a summer picnic

Tuscan farro salad

  • Tuscan farro salad with cucumbers and tomatoes is a light and healthy alternative to traditional potato salad. It’s perfect for picnics and makes a great side dish for summer cookouts.

    • 1 1/2 cups cooked farro (preferably pearled farro)
    • 1 English cucumber (cut into 1/4 in half slices)
    • 1 3/4 – 2 cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
    • 1/2 cup red onion (diced)
    • 1 serrano chile (seeds removed and diced)
    • 1 generous handful fresh basil leaves (thinly sliced (chiffonade))
    • 3 tbsp fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (diced)
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup red wine vinaigrette

    Red wine vinaigrette

    • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • fresh ground pepper to taste
    1. Cook the farro until it is just tender according to your package instructions, drain and let cool. Transfer the farro to a large bowl. Add the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onion, chile, basil and parsley. Season the salad with a generous pinch of slat and pepper. Gently mix the salad. Add the red wine vinaigrette and toss well. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for about 1 hour allowing the flavors to come together. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    How to cook farro:

    1. Measure 1 1/2 cups farro. Rinse the grain in a fine mesh strainer. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove-top. Add a generous pinch of salt. Cook the farro for 25-30 minutes or until it becomes softer and chewy in texture. Drain if necessary and cool.

    Red wine vinaigrette:

    1. Combine all the ingredients into a medium sized bowl and whisk until it is emulsified. Yields 1/2 cup vinaigrette.

    I used “pearled” farro also known as “Farro Perlato”

    This recipe is courtesy of northwestspoon.com. Discover new recipes and sign up for our monthly email newsletter.

    Roland Italian Farro, Pearled

 

4 Comments

  1. I’d forgotten about this great grain, haven’t had it for years but it’s got a fabulous nutty flavour hasn’t it. Always on the look out for different salads and this one does it for me.

     
    • Michelle Barsness

      Hi Anna, I love farro too. Hopefully it is making a comeback here. I like that it’s not too chewy or nutty in flavor. It’s delicate and tender. I hope you try the salad and enjoy it!

       
  2. I love a good cereal salad or cereal as a side instead of rice, I’ve only used buckwheat, spelt, bulghur and couscous yet but I will try farro next, it looks delicious!

     
    • Michelle Barsness

      Thanks Patty. Yes, give it a try. I was really impressed with the texture and gentle flavor of farro. It was the food of the mighty Romans! 🙂

       

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