Bright Mediterranean inspired flavors make this feta farro salad a perfect main dish for a light meal, or a refreshing side for a picnic or barbecue.
I discovered something pretty cool the other day when I was walking around the grocery store… quick cooking farro. Normally, I’m wary of quick-cooking anything, but farro, like barley, is a wheat grain that takes a long time to cook, so the promise of farro ready to use in 10 minutes (more like 15 with getting the water to boil and all) was pretty exciting to me. I knew I was going to make it into a salad to keep with the “simple and quick” theme. I picked up a little creamy feta, and then waited something ridiculous like two weeks before putting this together. And then I made it twice in three days.
Farro, if you haven’t heard of it, is a type of hulled wheat. It comes in three sizes, and is often used in soups or salads because it retains a nice chew and firm texture even after cooking. It’s similar to barley, and if you follow the “ancient grains” trend, you may have seen the largest size of farro sold as “spelt”.
Normally, farro takes about 30-40 minutes to cook, which requires a little planning ahead. If you happen to be shopping at a grocery store whose name has the initials “TJ”, that is where I purchased the quick cooking farro used in this recipe. If you can’t find it, use regular farro and plan for a little extra cooking time, or look for a quick cooking barley. It’s not exactly the same, but it’ll do. And you don’t want to miss out on this salad.
Personally, I prefer to enjoy this salad slightly warm, mixed shortly after the farro has finished cooking. It holds up well for a day in the refrigerator, but is best if taken out of the refrigerator about 20 minute prior to serving so it may come closer to room temperature. If you are planning to make this in advance, mix the farro and dressing, then rewarm slightly and mix in the feta, arugula, and tomato.
- 1 cup quick cooking farro
- 2 cups broth or water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes about 10-15 tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 3-4 cups arugula or spinach roughly chopped
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 3-5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the broth and quick cooking farro. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let sit covered 5 minutes before fluffing with a spoon. Set aside to cool an additional 10-15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, balsamic, salt, and lemon juice. Add the farro and stir. At this point you may cover the salad and refrigerate for up to a day until you are ready to serve. Reheat slightly and then mix in the fresh ingredients. If you're adding the fresh ingredients now, continue to the next step.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix until well combined. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!