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This farro salad recipe mixes fresh veggies and a tangy dressing with this hearty whole grain! It makes a satisfying side dish or lunch salad.

Farro Salad
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Need a killer side salad or a fun lunch salad? Here’s a recipe that works as both: this Hearty Farro Salad! Farro is an ancient grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor that’s burst on the scene in the past few years. It’s great as a side dish seasoned with garlic and herbs, but it’s also ideal for grain salads. This one is our new ultimate, pairing the whole grain with juicy tomatoes, earthy mushrooms, feathery arugula, savory pops of cheese, and a zingy vinaigrette.

Ingredients in this farro salad

This farro salad is fresh and veggie-packed, perfect as a side dish for dinner or as a lunch salad. You can save it up to 4 days refrigerated, so we typically use it for both! The flavor is Mediterranean-style, with a beautiful rainbow of jumbled vegetables. Here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make this farro salad:

  • Farro: pearled or semi pearled
  • Shallot and garlic
  • Cherry tomatoes, rainbow if possible
  • Button or cremini mushrooms
  • Carrot
  • Fresh herbs: fresh chives, mint or basil
  • Baby arugula: use only baby arugula here! Standard arugula has too strong of a flavor. For a substitute, use other baby greens.
  • Manchego cheese: or use Parmesan or fontina cheese (omit for vegan)
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
Farro Salad

Types of farro

Farro is a whole grain that’s plump and chewy, with a texture similar to barley. It’s been a staple in Italian cuisine for centuries and recently spread to global popularity. Farro can be boiled on the stovetop, cooked in a rice cooker, or in a pressure cooker (Instant Pot). There are a few types you can find in American grocery stores:

  • Pearled farro has all of the bran removed from the grain, making it quicker to cook but removing some fiber. The cook time is 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Semi-pearled farro has part of the bran removed, retaining some additional fiber. The cook time is 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Whole farro is the whole grain and takes the longest to cook, but it’s harder to find in grocery stores (in the US). So this farro salad works with pearled or semi pearled!

Keep in mind: the labeling of this grain in the grocery store can be confusing. Many packages don’t contain the words pearled or semi-pearled (looking at you, Bob’s Red Mill). Check the cook time on the package as a guide.


Tips on substitutions

This farro salad is pretty forgiving, and you can substitute or add different vegetables or cheese to taste. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mushrooms: omit if you’re not a mushroom fan, but the raw mushrooms add a great earthy flavor and soft texture here!
  • Baby arugula: don’t substitute standard arugula sold in bunches; it’s much too spicy! Use other baby greens like baby spinach or baby kale.
  • Cheese: Manchego cheese is a Spanish cheese with a sweet, fruity flavor and firm texture that’s fabulous here! If you can’t find it, try Parmesan shavings instead. Or for a fun variation use Fontina cheese (like this Farro with Roasted Vegetables). You can also omit the cheese for vegan.
  • Tomatoes: Out of season, look for greenhouse or hydroponic cherry tomatoes. Or add ripe, local cherry tomatoes in summer! For allergies, try another red vegetable like red pepper.
Farro Salad

Ways to serve this farro salad

This farro salad is so versatile and works with many different meal concepts. Here are some ideas:

How do you plan to serve it? Let us know in the comments below!

More farro recipes

Farro is one of our favorite grains (though of course, don’t forget quinoa!). Here are a few more farro recipes to use up your bag:

This farro salad recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, omit the cheese.

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Farro Salad

Hearty Farro Salad

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This farro salad recipe mixes fresh veggies and a tangy dressing with this hearty whole grain! It makes a satisfying side dish or lunch salad.


  • 1 cup dry farro (pearled or semi pearled)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 4 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (like fresh chives, mint or basil)
  • 2 cups baby arugula (or other baby greens)
  • ½ cup Manchego cheese, sliced into chunks (or Parmesan shavings or fontina cheese; omit for vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Cook the farro: Rinse the farro under cold water in a fine mesh strainer. In a large saucepan, place the farro, 3 cups water and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the grains are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes for pearled farro and 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled farro. Taste test a grain to see if it is tender (if the package is unmarked, just cook until tender). Drain any excess water. Stir in the additional ¼ teaspoon salt. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer for 3 minutes until room temperature. (This step can be completed up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate the farro until making the salad.)
  2. Prep the veggies: Meanwhile, chop the shallot, garlic, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, carrot, and fresh herbs as noted in the ingredient list above. Place the veggies in a large bowl, then add the baby arugula, cheese, and farro. 
  3. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, oregano, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time, until creamy. 
  4. Serve: Add the dressing to the bowl with farro and vegetables and toss. Taste and add another pinch or two of salt if desired. (Stores up to 4 days refrigerated; you may need to add a pinch or two more salt after refrigeration since it can dull the flavors.)
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Ruth says:

    OK, this has just become one of our favorite salads! I love how versatile it is. I switched out raw zucchini and baby spinach for the carrot and arugula, and it was still great. Even held up in the fridge for lunch the next day. We’ll be having this one again.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Love it!

  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!