Colorful Farro Salad

BY : PUBLISHED : January 12th, 2022

Made with a hefty amount of nutritious and wholesome ingredients, this Colorful Farro Salad is a great way to help you detox from all that holiday food! To me, nothing is more refreshing and nutritious than a big grain salad – you have your grain, your vegetables, and your protein from the beans all in one bowl – who needs more?

completed Colorful Farro Salad in a bowl against a white surface

A mouthful of this delightful cold salad is brimming with a myriad of flavors textures that create a party in your mouth! The grains, olives, spinach, lemon juice, and basil give this recipe tangy, savory, warm flavors and a chewy yet crunchy mouthfeel. It is easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and super nutritious to boot!

What is Farro?

Farro is an ancient grain that originated from the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East and has found its way into different parts of the world, but most especially in Italy. These protein and fiber-rich wheat grains are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This is why it was known as the ‘Mother of all wheat’ in ancient Roman times. It is prepared and cooked much the same way as rice and has a rich nutty taste and pleasantly chewy and tender texture. It is a great substitute for other grains such as rice, quinoa, and couscous.

Super Easy Colorful Farro Salad

If being delicious and nutritious is not enough to sell you into making this dish, we also feel that it is worth mentioning how easy it is to make! You make the dressing, cook the Farro, toss everything together and let it chill in the fridge. You don’t even need to be hands-on with cooking Farro as it should be left alone until it is fully cooked.

Farro Salad is the perfect addition to your healthy meal prep, as it is ideal for making ahead and stores really well. Serve this vibrant, eye-catching salad as it is or with your fave entrées for a heavier and more filling lunch or dinner.

Ingredients Needed:

For the dressing:

  • Olive oil – Use good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can.
  • Lemon juice – Provides a bright, tangy taste to the dish. Use fresh lemon as much as possible, but bottled lemon juice will do in a pinch.
  • Dried basil – Gives the dressing a blast of sweet and savory flavors with pepper and mint undertones.
  • Sea salt and pepper – To taste.

For the salad:

  • Vegetable broth – Using seasoned broth instead of water will provide a richer tasting Farro.
  • Farro – Cook according to package instructions. It is relatively inexpensive, but it’s even cheaper if you buy it from the bulk bins at the store!
  • Vegetables – We used Roma tomatoes, green onions, fresh spinach, black olives, and Kalamata olives for this recipe. They are the perfect complement to the farro and dressing.
  • Kidney Beans – Makes the dish even more substantial and protein-rich! We love how its soft, mushy texture complements the chewiness of the grain.

ingredients for Colorful Farro Salad measured out in separate bowls against light background How to Make the Colorful Farro Salad

1) Make the dressing. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil together. Set aside.

ingredients for Colorful Farro Salad measured out in separate bowls against light background

2) Cook the Farro. Boil the vegetable broth, then add Farro.  Do Not Stir!  We want the grain to absorb the liquid, which may take about 20 to 25 minutes.  Once cooked, strain off excess liquid and place the Farro in a large bowl.

process of cooking farro in a pot

3) Toss and Chill. While Farro is steaming hot, pour the dressing and mix thoroughly. Add the salad ingredients –  black olives, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, and kidney beans. Put it in the fridge for about 2 hours, then serve.

chopped veggies on a white cutting board process of adding dressing to farro in pot process of mixing veggies and beans to farro

Tips when Making Colorful Farro Salad

  • Keep an eye on your Farro while it cooks; if you think you need to cook it for a few more minutes, add a little more vegetable broth.
  • The grains are cooked once they are chewy but should still have a bite into it. If it has cooked before the liquid evaporates, make sure to drain it first to not make the salad watery.
  • Keep some of the salad dressing for later. If the farro salad becomes too dry after being refrigerated, add the remaining dressing to moisten it.
  • Toasting faro before cooking it deepens its flavor and gives it a richer taste. So if you have time, go for it!

 Variations and Substitutions

  • This salad is quite versatile! You can add more veggies like carrots, potatoes, radishes, broccoli, and more.
  • You can also add more leafy greens like kale, parsley, or arugula.
  • Toasted pecans, walnuts, and almonds would be a nice addition for extra texture and flavor
  • You can also experiment with other spices such as dill, thyme, oregano, and parsley.

completed Colorful Farro Salad in a bowl against a white surface

Storing Notes

Ideally, the salad should be consumed upon serving or stored in the fridge within 2 hours.  You may keep any leftover farro salad using an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

You can make the dressing and cook the Farro ahead of time. Cooked Farro can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, but it can also be frozen for longer shelf life. All you need to prepare are the veggies, then toss them together before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions for Farro Salad

  1.  Why do we put the dressing on while the Farro is still warm? This will give the farro salad a fuller taste.  Warm Farro helps absorb the dressing more.
  2. Can I use water instead of vegetable broth?  Yes, you can.  However, cooking it with vegetable broth will make your farro grains tastier.
  3. Do I need to soak Farro overnight? It is not required. However, soaking them in water overnight or for a few hours will soften the grains and help reduce your cook time.

completed Colorful Farro Salad in a blue bowl with utensils in it against a light background

More Healthy and Refreshing Salad Recipes

  1. Lemon and Garlic Roasted Vegetables with Farro – Using extra virgin oil and lemon and garlic is a sure-fire winner. Nothing beats a salad with a variety of potatoes, Farro, and chickpeas in it.
  2. Vegan Lemon-Garlic Mediterranean Quinoa (Salad OR Warm) – This Greek/Mediterranean-inspired recipe contains all the vitamins and minerals you need. That’s why it’s dubbed a superfood. This is great warm or cold, and it may be enjoyed in whatever combination you like.
  3. Vegan Broccoli Salad – Is a stunning assortment of fresh green florets, dried berries, and crunchies tossed in a light vinaigrette dressing. A merge of amazing colors, flavors, and textures that create a perfect light and refreshing salad.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Colorful Farro Salad in a blue bowl with utensils in it against a light background

Colorful Farro Salad

Roxane McNulty
Made with a hefty amount of nutritious and wholesome ingredients, this Colorful Farro Salad is delicious! Nothing is more refreshing and nutritious than a big grain salad – you have your grain, your vegetables, and your protein from the beans all in one bowl.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 376 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • Sea salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil

For the salad:

  • 4 ½ cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups of uncooked farro
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 large green onions sliced on the bias
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup black olives
  • ¼ cup of Kalamata olives sliced in half
  • 1 can of cooked kidney beans 15-ounce

Instructions
 

  • First, make the dressing: Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil; Set aside.
  • Bring veg broth to a boil, add Farro. Boil, without stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain off any liquid that may remain and place it in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the Farro while still hot and mix thoroughly.
  • Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 10gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 1347mgPotassium: 460mgFiber: 14gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1224IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 3mg
Keyword beans, budget, cheap, dinner, Farro, lemon, lunch, plant-based, recipe, salad, side, simple, spinach, tasty, tomato, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

About Roxane McNulty

Roxane is a culinary school graduate, professional pastry chef and devoted mama of an adorable toddler - She loves cooking and baking tasty, healthy plant-based food that is kind to our bodies, the earth and the animals! She also runs her own website, Roxane's Natural Kitchen

View all posts by Roxane McNulty
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