Asparagus and Arugula Farro Salad is made with hearty grains and light spring greens. It's is an excellent side dish, but it’s also substantial enough to be a meal on its own. This flavorful vegan spring recipe is terrific for either lunch or dinner.
I’ve had half a package of Trader Joe’s quick cooking farro in my pantry for about six months now. I had forgotten about it, but after I did a little spring cleaning, I discovered it hiding behind a box of whole wheat fusilli and bag of sushi rice. Hungry, I started plotting what to make with it.
I have a couple other farro recipes here on my blog. There’s the Farro Salad with Apples and Pecans, which is very much a fall dish. There’s also the Baked Farro With Tomatoes and Herbs is from Veganomicon, 10th Anniversary Edition, which is a great dish to make when craving warm comfort food. But as it’s spring and the weather is finally warming up here, I wanted something lighter.
What is Farro?
Farro is an ancient whole grain that's in the wheat family. It's been a staple food in Europe for decades, and it can actually be traced back to early Mesopotamia, which is where the "ancient" comes in.
There are actually three different kinds of farro:
Emmer is what’s usually found for sale here in the U.S. It’s full of fiber, protein, and b vitamins, as well as antioxidants and minerals, so it has many health benefits.
How to Cook Farro
Farro can be processed in three different ways, resulting in different cooking instructions.
- Whole farro has the grain intact, which means is retains its original nutrients. It should be soaked overnight before cooking, and it has a long cooking time.
- Semi-pearled farro has half of the grain intact, so it retains some of the nutrients, and it has a shorter cooking time.
- Pearled farro is what most grocery stores carry. It has a shorter cooking time, but less flavor and nutrients.
Before you cook it, you should rinse your farro. place it in a fine-mesh sieve and give it a good rinse with cold water.
You can cook farro the same way you would pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the dry farro, reduce the heat, and allow the grain to simmer until it's al dente. When it's done, farro should have a chewy texture. It could take 20 to 30 minutes for farro to cook, depending on the type.
1 cup of dry farro will yield about 3 cups of cooked grains.
Asparagus and Arugula Farro Salad
I had clipped a few spring farro recipes from magazines. Of course, they were all loaded with dairy products, so none of them were vegan. I used them as inspiration for this vegan Asparagus and Arugula Farro Salad recipe.
How to Make Asparagus and Arugula Farro Salad
This salad comes together in a snap, especially if you’re using quick-cooking farro!
To prepare your asparagus for this salad, you use a vegetable peeler to slice each stalk into thin strips.
- First you cook the farro.
- Then you make the dressing by mixing all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
- Then you mix together the salad ingredients and toss them together with the dressing.
How to Customize Your Farro Salad
- I like to use my Tofu Feta in this recipe, but you can use your favorite store-bought vegan cheese, if you like.
- Any cooked grain will work in this salad, but there’s something about farro’s chewy texture that really complements the asparagus and arugula.
- You can use baby spinach or baby kale instead of arugula, if you prefer.
The tahini dressing that accompanies this salad is so good that you might want to make extra and freeze it for future salads. I like to use it as a dip for carrot sticks and cut celery.
If you’re having this is a side salad, you’ll get about 6 servings from it. If it’s your main meal, you’ll get 2 or 3 servings. It’s hearty enough to hold up in the fridge for a day or two.
Asparagus and Arugula Farro Salad
- 1 cup farro
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 English cucumber sliced, divided (about 1½ cups)
- 4-5 radishes thinly sliced
- 1 bunch asparagus tough ends removed (about 8 ounces)
- 5 ounces arugula
- ¾ cup Tofu Feta
- ½ cup toasted walnuts chopped
- ¼ cup parsley chopped, loosely packed
- Cook the farro according to the package directions. Allow to cool
- While the farro is cooking, mix the tahini, 3 tablespoons water, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and ¼ cup cucumber slices together in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon of water. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Use a vegetable peeler to slice the asparagus into thin strips.
- In a large bowl, toss the arugula together with the remaining cucumber slices, sliced radishes, feta, and cooked farro. Add the tahini dressing and gently toss until the salad is coated. Top with the toasted walnuts and parsley.
Other grain salads you might like include:
- Farro Salad with Apples and Pecans
- Springtime Quinoa Salad
- Potluck Worthy Rice Salad
- Double Broccoli Quinoa Salad
More asparagus recipes you might enjoy include:
- Asparagus Tart from Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan by Laura Theodore
- Asparagus and Chickpea Salad
- Tomato and Asparagus Tart
- Vegan Omelet with Asparagus and Feta