This versatile and healthy farro salad recipe is is healthy and nutritious. Nutritious farro brings a warm, nutty flavor with an incredible chewy texture.. The salad is dotted with sweet cranberries, crunchy almonds, savory feta, and tossed in a tangy apple cider vinaigrette.
In recent years I stumbled upon farro, and since then it’s been one of my favorite grains. Its hearty, chewy texture and satisfying.
If you’ve never had farro – you’re missing out. it’s nutty, slightly sweet, and has cinnamon undertones.
Farro salad with apple cider vinaigrette hits all the flavor and texture. I love this recipe because it’s fresh, filling, and gets better the next day. The tang from the apple cider vinaigrette pairs perfectly with the sweetness from the cranberries and nutty flavor from the farro.
You can serve farro salad on the side, on a bed of greens, or with some protein to make a complete meal.
Why you’ll love Farro Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- It’s easy to make: The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is cooking the farro (even that part is easy enough!).
- It’s customizable: Feel free to swap the kale for spinach, feta for goat cheese, or almonds for pecans. This is a great dish to use up miscellaneous veggies in your fridge!
- The flavor profile is sweet and savory – I mean is there a better combination?
- You can make this ahead of time. In fact, I recommend making this at least an hour in advance to allow time for the flavors to meld.
- Health benefits – Apple cider has a host of health benefits including antioxidants. Other ingredients like kale and almonds are also packed with nutrients. The farro adds fiber and protein.
What is Farro?
Farro is an ancient whole-grain wheat that was originally cultivated in Mesopotamia. It’s been popular in Europe for years, and is gaining traction in the United States. It’s affordable, hearty, and delicious.
Farro comes in three different varieties:
- Pearled – This is the one we’re using. It’s most common in American grocery stores. The outside layer of the bran is removed so this cooks up most quickly.
- Semi-Pearled – Some of the bran is removed, takes a bit longer to cook.
- Whole – Whole farro is encased in the bran. Whole farro is more fibers and nutritious than the top two, but takes longer to cook.
Key Ingredients in this Farro Salad:
- Farro – I use pearled farro because it’s what I can find at the grocery store. It cooks up in about 25 minutes. If you use another variety, follow the instructions on the package accordingly.
- Apple Cider – The second most important ingredient here. Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. It’s tangy, vinegary (duh), and adds a brightness to the dish. Sorry, no replacements here!
- Feta – Salty, tangy, smooth, and so good. I like to use full fat because of the added richness, but low fat or fat free work okay.
- Red onion – Adds a crunch, a little bite, and some spice to the dish.
- Slivered almonds – The nutty and earthy tones of almonds pair well with farro.
- Dried cranberries – I know not everyone likes dried fruit, so if you’re offended by this you can leave it out. I like the way they pair with the sour sweetness of the apple cider vinegar.
- Cilantro – Another controversial ingredient. The fresh citrusy flavor brightens this dish up a touch more.
*Note: You can let the chopped onion soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes before draining it. This removes some of the bitterness.
- Feta – No feta? Try a goat cheese or a tangy Parmesan cheese. Need it to be dairy free or vegan? Leave it out or throw a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
- Almonds – Substitute chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Cranberries – Substitute dried cherries (or raisins or currants).
- Cilantro – Hate cilantro? Swap it for flat leaf parsley.
- Kale – Hate kale? Spinach or another winter green could work but just remember kale doesn’t wilt as easy.
Make Ahead and Storing
You should make this in advance and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. It gets better the next day! Farro salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
I haven’t tried freezing this, but I imagine it would freeze okay (airtight container) seeing as each of the ingredients are freezable. I might just leave out the cilantro until you are ready to serve.
Farro Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1 Medium saucepan
- 1 cup pearled farro, uncooked
- 3 cups water, salted (see notes)
- 1 chicken bouillon cube, optional
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 1/3 cup feta, full fat or low fat
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, coarsely chopped or diced (see notes)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoons garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Optional prep: Add your chopped onion to a small bowl of ice water and let it sit for ten minutes. Drain and set aside. This helps soften the flavor.
Cook the farro
- Rinse and drain your farro (this removes any dust and prevents it from getting gummy).
- Add the farro and 4 cups (1 quart) of water to a medium saucepan. Add 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt and the chicken bouillon cube (if using). Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for approximately 25 minutes. Check for doneness. The farro should have the texture of al dente pasta. It will be tender, but chewy and not hard in the center. Cook for another 5 or 10 minutes if it has not reached this point but be careful not to overcook.
- Once the farro is ready, if there is remaining liquid drain it and return it to the pan. Toss with a dash of olive oil. to prevent any sticking. Set aside.
Apple Cider Vinegrette
- In a medium bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, dijon, olive oil, garlic, shallots, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the kale, red onions, feta, cranberries (if using), almonds, and cilantro. Toss with the apple cider vinaigrette. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- The salad flavor improves with time. Let the salad rest in the refrigerator in an airtight container for at least an hour prior to serving. The salad is best made a day in advance. The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- Soaking the red onion is optional, but it takes some of the bite out of it.
- Farro can take anywhere between 25 and 35 minutes to cook completely. Check for doneness after 25 minutes.