this could be about grain salads more generally, but farro is my favorite and sometimes it’s ok to play favorites. farro makes a great base for hearty salads (or sometimes “salads”) because it is delicious and nutty and filling and allegedly healthy. for other bases, swap it with quinoa, barley, tabbouleh, freekah, sorghum, rice, israeli pearl couscous, or even cooked lentils, chickpeas, or beans.
my keys to a great farro/grain salad are: well-cooked farro (should be al dente, tender but not mushy), something juicy like tomatoes or pomegranate seeds or other fruit, something crunchy like chopped nuts or pita chips, something herby like parsley or basil or mint or chives, something salty like feta or parmesan or olives, and a good dressing involving olive oil and lemon or vinegar. vegetable add-ins work well too, like onion/scallions, cucumber, zucchini, peppers, radishes, artichoke, beets, or avocado (not a vegetable I guess).
here’s a very simple version.
this one is a favorite, with pistachios, parmesan, arugula, and herbs. cooking the farro in apple cider makes it very flavorful, so try that or go ahead and use other liquids for extra flavor.
here’s a mexicanish version with peppers, corn, chiles, onion, cilantro, and lime.
this kind with shaved brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese is great for colder months.