Farro is my favorite grain.
It’s chewy, nutritious, and versatile.
You might be wondering…
How good can a salad get?
Well, I’ll tell you this is easily one of the best salads I’ve eaten.
I’ll go easy on the superlatives and let you see for yourself.
Whether you’ve had farro before or not, here’s the deal-
Farro can be added to a salad, served as a side, and even as part of your main course.
It’s extremely flexible and can be used many different ways.
I remember reading about it a few years ago in Food and Wine that it was the ‘new quinoa’.
I don’t know if it really ever became the new quinoa, but had seen it appears on restaurant menus soon after reading about.
This particular one was an adaptation from the one at Charlie Bird in New York City.
I haven’t had a chance to eat there myself, but if this is an accurate representation, I can definitely see why’d it’d be popular!
Want to know the best part?
I’ll tell you.
Here’s a breakdown of how I perceived each of the component of the dish-
- The herbs – mint and basil are prominent and add bright aromatics
- The vegetables – radish unsurprisingly provides a crunchy texture, while the arugula sprinkles peppery and pungent softness that contrasts well with the pistachios and chewy farro
- The nuts – pistachios, while not as crunchy as radish, provide another layer of texture to the salad. I thought the pistachios could be substituted with walnuts or pecans, but after trying them, I like pistachios best!
- The cherry tomatoes – balance out the herbs and slightly savory flavor of the farro with a non-acidic sweetness. Take your tomatoes to the next level and use heirloom cherry tomatoes for added complexity. Or if you like things sweet, try roasting them and then adding them in!!
- The lemon olive oil dressing brings everything together and keeps the dish light and summery.
Just imagine all these different ingredients working in concert.
It may just taste better than you expect! At least if you can get an idea of how things will taste by looking at the recipe!
Some notes on after making the salad several times
If I were tight on time or didn’t have the apple cider on hand I’d use just straight farro.
I think mixing in the Parmesan cheese may have overpowered the cider and bay leaf flavor.
It’s very subtle.
Regardless, this has become part of my rotation when I’m craving some arugula and farro.
The farro, herbs, nuts, and cheese complement each other quite well like water and plants.
If you end up making this, I’d love to hear your thoughts, I’d be interested to see if there’s any other way this could be improved too!
This is one of my most popular recipes, please help get the word out and Pin it!
In case you missed them, here are some of my other farro recipes!
Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad version 1.0
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 people 1x
- Category: side
- Cuisine: New American
- 1 cup pearled farro
- 1.5 cups water (adjust water amount so as not to exceed liquid per farro package instructions)
- 1 cup apple cider (I used Hard Cider from trader Joes)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (shave with a vegetable peeler )
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- 1 cup torn basil leaves
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced radish
- In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and water to a simmer and continue until farro is tender and liquid is absorbed ~30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water.
- In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add farro, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix.
- Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radish and grind fresh pepper on top.
This salad tastes best at room temperature or a little warm. I didn’t like it straight out of the fridge as the coolness muted some of the flavors.