I’ve never met a farro salad I didn’t like at least passingly, but then I met Julie’s farro salad recipe, and suddenly I was in love. Delicious recipes that come together in less than 15 minutes are freaking GOLD right now. I’ve been super swamped lately, trying to launch my upcoming cooking cheat sheets while managing my surgery recovery (still can’t really use my right arm) so eating — let alone cooking — is a luxury these days. And eating healthy? Yeah, right. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been living on eggs, toast, and smoothies for the past month.
Come on, don’t judge. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
So, Julie’s farro salad. We’ve already established that she’s one hell of a good cook with her epic tiramisu cake and fall-off-the-bone grilled ribs, so it’s no surprise that when you visit Julie’s house, you eat really, really well. I’m always ready to be blown away from her grilling and baking prowess, and not being a general salad person, I honestly don’t pay that much attention to the salad bowl. But when I scooped a forkful of Julie’s farro salad into my face, well, let’s just say that everything else on the table fell away.
This farro salad is healthy, yes, but also hearty and incredibly flavorful. Whole grain farro fills you up while an impressively assertive cast of flavors makes this one of those two- or three-helping dishes: sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and some welcomely bitter green arugula to round the whole thing out. This farro salad hits so many flavor notes, and perfectly, that I’ve been eating it for dinner with nothing else without feeling deprived in any way.
If you’re convinced that whole grains are hard to cook, check out my advice on cooking whole grains with grace and speed. Or, do what I did earlier this month. Get the “10-minute Farro” from Trader Joe’s, which sells for $1.50 and cooks up in… you guessed it… ten minutes.
If you’re gluten-free or just don’t have any farro in the house, this salad is just as good with brown rice instead. You could also make it with pretty much any other grain you have handy: quinoa, barley, etc. Same goes for greens. If you’re not feeing the bitterness of arugula, swamp it out with baby chard, spinach, or whatever other green thing you’ve got hiding in a bag in your crisper threatening to expire before you eat it.
Alright, that’s enough of my heart-eyed salad blather. ? Here’s a note from Julie:
This farro salad recipe is one of my favorite go-to side dishes. It’s always a hit with friends and family. Colorful and flavorful, it is super simple to make and easy to switch up if you don’t have fresh corn around. In the summertime I like to cook whole cobs of corn for just a few minutes, then quickly drop the cobs in cold water to stop the cooking. When the corn is cool enough, I slice it right off the cob into the bowl of farro. If you don’t have whole corn on the cob you can use frozen corn, or you can substitute fresh zucchini. I like to dice up the zucchini into a small dice, then either add it fresh or lightly saute the zucchini in a small amount of olive oil before adding to the salad. This farro salad recipe is great for picnics and barbecues, and is easy to double up for larger parties.
Oh, if you like this salad and are looking for other healthy, hearty dishes, definitely check out my curry quinoa salad with mango, ginger, mint, and Serrano peppers. It’s another zinger in the flavor department.
Farro Salad Recipe with Sweet Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup farro uncooked (or brown rice)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces corn kernels (about 3 ears or can use frozen)
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 scallions sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 bunch arugula about 2 cups (loosely packed)
- Cook farro according to the package directions, making sure to salt the water with 2 tablespoons of salt. Once the farro is done, drain and rinse the grains under cold water. Drain again to remove all excess water. Put into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bring another pot of salted water to boil and drop the corn in, cooking for 2 minutes, until it's hot but not soft. Immediately drain the corn and rinse with cool water. Drain again to remove excess water and add the corn to the bowl with the farro.
- Add the tomatoes, scallions, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir well, then salt and pepper to taste.
- Right before serving, add the arugula. Don't add it early or the leaves will wilt and get soggy. If you like, add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice to taste.
- If you live near a Trader Joe's, they sell 10-minute farro that cooks super fast.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, just brown rice instead of farro.
- You could also make it with pretty much any other grain you have handy: quinoa, barley, etc.
- Same goes for greens. If you're not feeing the bitterness of arugula, swamp it out with baby chard, spinach, or another kind of greens.