Meatless Monday: Southwestern Farro Salad


Bringing lunches to work can be tough. I enjoy dinner leftovers, so on the days I have those, I’m golden. But, I only cook dinner with leftovers maybe 1-2 times per week. The remaining days, I have to buy lunch (which I usually try to limit to once a week), or figure something else out. And I am so NOT a sandwich girl. I mean, I can be a sandwich girl…if the sandwich has a lot of stuff on it, like cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc. and the bread is toasted. If I were to make that sandwich in the morning, it would be a soggy mess by lunch time.

In the spring and summer particularly, I enjoy grain salads. I usually take my lunch hour to walk (or go to the gym, when I’m feeling extra motivated) and then sit down to eat and work when I get back. Grain salads are great for that purpose because 9 out of 10 times, the last thing I want after walking around for an hour in 90 degree temps is to heat something up for lunch.

Farro is a fantastic whole grain that doesn’t get enough love. We’re currently in the middle of a quinoa lovefest (which is cool, since quinoa is pretty awesome, too), and farro is the wallflower in the background which surely everyone would love if they just give it a chance. Farro, to me, is reminiscent of barley, both in its nutty taste and chewy texture. It’s a bit more convenient, though, since it takes less time to cook.

It should be no surprise to you that this salad has the southwestern ingredients I clearly love. (For the record, I did make a  Greek brown rice salad the following week, though.) It’s vegetarian, but still has protein from the farro and beans, and both do wonders for keeping you full, too.

I’ve seen a lot of recipes where the farro is soaked, but I’ve never done it myself, and I’ve not experienced any ill effects. Normally I cook farro in the same way I do white rice, but this time I decided to make it the same way I make brown rice, and it worked beautifully.

A random note: I started adding our weekly menu plan to the sidebar of my blog last week. I’ll try my best to keep it updated, and hope it gives you some ideas!

Meatless Monday: Southwestern Farro Salad

  • I’ve never actually had farro but I always assume that it’s similar to wheat berries…which I love. This salad definitely does sound like the perfect summer lunch!

  • This sounds so awesome! Yum!

  • I agree! Farro deserves more love. I thoroughly enjoy that nutty flavor and chewy texture that goes well with so many flavors.

  • elly, you seriously changed my life when you first posted that saveur link on how to cook brown rice. just had some yesterday, in fact! haven’t tried farro yet, so this recipe is bookmarked for sure.

    also – i LOVE that you’ve added your menu plan. i’ve always loved how you cook such well-rounded meals, so i’m all over this!

  • I’ve had a bag of farro sitting in my pantry for like 3 years… this looks like the perfect recipe to try it out – you know I love all these flavors!

  • Jean

    Could you tell me how many servings this makes?

    • elly

      Jean, we got about 4 good-sized portions out of it. If it was a side, you could get a couple more.

      • Jean

        Thank you. It sounds really good. My first experience with farro was when I bought a package at Whole Foods & followed the recipe that came with it, which called for kalamata olives, capers, garlic, tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar & EVOO. They said to soak the farro in cold water for 8 hours, or overnight, and then drain & cook in water and salt for about 20 minutes. I am going to try your recipe as it will make an excellent lunch & should keep well (assuming I don’t eat too many portions!)

  • What a great salad, and props to you for also making a Greek salad. I love all your meatless monday posts!

  • WOW you are one hard worker; I can see that you make every minute of your day count. 🙂 i LOVE the side-bar weekly menu! what a great idea! And this salad is bomb diggity. I love “spoon salads” the best!

  • Yummy! I’ve been making a lot of farro lately. I’ll have to add this to the lineup!

  • This sounds awesome! Can’t wait to try it.

  • Jane from Canada

    I substitute the jalepeno for some drops of hot sauce and also added some red peppers for additional colour. This is an awesome recipe and a very different salad that we really enjoyed. Thanks for posting this great idea!

    • elly

      Glad you like it, Jane!