Farro Salad with Apples and Pecans is full of fall flavors, and it will help ease you in the upcoming season. It's a great side dish, but it can also be can enjoyed as a main dish for lunch or a light dinner. This vegan recipe is super easy to make!
I was recently perusing the aisles at Trader Joe’s and I came across a package of 10-minute farro. Farro salad used to be in my regular meal rotation, but I somehow got out of the habit of making it. I got into it when I was studying to become a health coach, and I was trying out new foods.
A few years ago I had surgery, and in my anesthetized state, I was introduced to the resident doctor that had been assigned to me – Dr. Farrow. “Oh, like the salad!” I said to a bunch of blank stares. “It must be the anesthesia,” was the response. No, I really was thinking of salad.
What is Farro?
Farro is an ancient grain from the wheat family. It’s full of fiber, protein, and b vitamins, as well as antioxidants and minerals, so it has many health benefits.
People who have problems digesting wheat have told me that they can eat farro. Note that it does contain gluten, so if you have a sensitivity, it's not for you. Can you use brown rice in this recipe instead.
Types of Farro
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.
To cook it, 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 10 to 30 minutes for farro to cook, depending on the type.
1 cup of dry farro will yield about 3 cups of cooked.
How to Make Fall Farro Salad
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you cook the farro according the package instructions. You should allow it cool before making your salad.
- Then you mix together the dressing ingredients.
- Finally you mix together the salad ingredients and fold in the dressing.
How to Toast the Pecans
Toasting the pecans really brings out their flavor. You can toast them in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat. Simply stir them occasionally. Or you can pop them in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. It’s important to keep an eye on them however you cook them, though, as they can go from almost-done to super-burnt in a matter of seconds. I know this from lots of experience!
How to Customize Your Farro Salad
This farro salad recipe is very flexible, so you can use just about any type of fruit and nuts you have on had.
- If you can’t find farro, wheat berries, freekeh, or brown rice will work just as well.
- You can use a flavored balsamic vinegar to change up the flavor of the dish.
- Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or toasted walnuts.
- You can use a pear instead of apple.
- The baby kale can be swapped for baby spinach or arugula.
Farro Salad with Apples and Pecans
- 1 cup farro
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 apple diced
- 3 cups loosely packed baby kale coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pecans coarsely chopped and toasted
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- Cook the farro according to the directions on the package. Allow it to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the farro, the apple, baby kale, pecans and cranberries. Gently mix to combine everything together. Fold in the dressing.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.