Hearty, healthy and a terrific option for grilling season, my farro salad with grilled vegetables hits the spot as a delicious side dish, or even as a snack on its own. Filled with chunky pieces of grilled eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and cherry tomatoes, this scrumptious farro salad recipe is perfection served either warm or cool, and drizzled with a fresh cilantro-mint sauce!
A Hearty Mediterranean Salad Loaded with Lots of Texture
There are so many wonderful, healthy and hearty grains available on market shelves these days, and I love to make good use of them in my recipes.
I frequently use delicate quinoa for recipes such as my quinoa bowl, my quinoa tabbouleh, or in lemony chicken soup with spring veggies, and I love the chewy texture of barley in soups such as my beef barley soup—so filling, and so healthy!
Another terrific grain to cook with is farro, and if you've never tried farro, it's a high-protein, high-fiber ancient wheat grain, which looks a lot like barely, only slightly longer, and with a similar chewy texture to it.
Farro makes for a terrific Mediterranean salad, and I love to pair it with thick, chunky pieces of grilled vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, squash, red onion and cherry tomatoes.
The smoky-charred flavor of the grilled vegetables is truly delicious, and when combined with the warm farro and drizzled with a fresh and slightly spicy cilantro-mint sauce, it's the perfect salad or side dish to serve up during grilling season!
My Recipe for Farro Salad with Grilled Vegetables
When looking for farro on the market shelves, most of the time what you will find is either pearled farro (has the outer bran removed) or semi-pearled farro, either of which are fantastic to use because of their slightly shorter cooking time.
When cooking farro, the recommendation is typically 1 part farro to either 2 or 3 parts liquid (you can use water or stock), but I like to use more like 1 part farro to 2 quarts of water (8 cups) for less starchiness.
I check the farro at about 30 to 35 minutes of cooking, and once it's tender yet still with a little bit of chewiness, I simply drain it of excess water, then allow it to sit warm in my sieve or colander until I'm ready to use it.
Seeing as I love the flavor of grilled vegetables, I like to cut some eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash into circles, chunk up some red onion, and halve the cherry tomatoes.
I toss this colorful vegetable medley with olive oil, some dried herbs, smoked paprika and cumin, granulated onion and garlic, plus salt and pepper for added flavor. Then, I simply use my grill pan to grill 'em up, until charred and delicious!
Combined together and drizzled with my fresh and cool cilantro-mint sauce, I love to enjoy this delicious and nutritious salad as a snack, side, or a meal all in itself.
Here's a glance at my farro salad recipe with grilled vegetables: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my fresh cilantro-mint sauce to have ready and on hand.
- Then, I cook my farro according to package instructions until tender, drain the water, and set aside.
- Next, I season my vegetables and grill them until tender and charred, and cut the eggplant slices into chunky pieces.
- To assemble my farro salad, I add the veggies to a large, shallow serving bowl and lightly combine with the warm farro.
- Next, I drizzle in some of the fresh cilantro-mint sauce, then finish with herbs, and serve.
Farro Salad with Grilled Vegetables
by Ingrid Beer
This hearty farro salad is brimming with flavorful medley of charred, grilled vegetables, drizzled with a fresh cilantro-mint sauce!
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 235 calories per serving
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Farro Salad Ingredients:
- 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced into ¾ inch thick circles
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced into ¾ inch thick circles
- 2 medium yellow squash, sliced into ¾ inch thick circles
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and halved, those halves cut into small wedges or chunks
- 1 ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided use
- 1 teaspoon cumin, divided use
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, divided use
- ½ teaspoons granulated onion, divided use
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic, divided use
- Cilantro leaves or mint leaves, as garnish
Cilantro-Mint Sauce Ingredients:
- ⅓ cup finely minced cilantro
- 1 heaping tablespoon finely minced mint leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your cilantro-mint sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list to have ready and organized for use.
- Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl, and using a fork, mix together until well blended. Set aside.
- Next, gather and prep all of your farro salad ingredients according the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Bring 2 quarts of water with a couple of good pinches of salt to the boil, then add in the farro, stir, and allow the farro to simmer/gently boil for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender. Then, drain the farro completely of water and allow it to cool slightly while you grill your veggies.
- Add your eggplant slices into a large bowl. Then, to another bowl, add the zucchini, squash and red onion. To another smaller bowl, add your halved cherry tomatoes.
- Season the eggplant by drizzling over it about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, about ½ teaspoon worth of the smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon worth of the cumin, ¼ teaspoon worth of the dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon worth of each the granulated onion and garlic, and toss coat. Set aside for a moment.
- Next, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to both the zucchini/squash/red onion bowl, as well as the cherry tomato bowl, along with ¼ teaspoon worth of the smoked paprika to each, ¼ teaspoon worth of the cumin to each, and ⅛ teaspoon worth of the granulated onion and garlic to each. Toss these veggies with the seasoning to coat well. Set aside for a moment.
- Heat your grill pan, and once very hot, add as many slices of eggplant as you can fit in a single layer, and grill for about 5 to 6 minutes on the first side, then flip and grill another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, until charred and tender. Place the grilled eggplant onto a plate to hold, and repeat with any remaining eggplant slices.
- Next, add you seasoned zucchini/squash/red onions to the grill pan in a single layer, and grill those for about 3 minutes on the first side, and about 1 to 2 minutes on the second side, until charred and tender. Place onto a plate to hold, and repeat with any remaining zucchini/squash/red onion chunks.
- Then, turn the hot grill pan off, and add the halved cherry tomatoes, cut side down into the pan. Allow these to grill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, flip, and grill another 30 seconds, just until charred but not mushy. Remove from pan and hold in a small bowl.
- Next, cut your eggplant circles into quarters, and set aside for a moment. You can also cut your squash into semi-circles as well if on the larger side, and set aside.
- To prepare the farro salad, add the farro and all of the grilled veggies to a large bowl, and drizzle in about half of the cilantro-mint sauce, gently toss to coat everything as to not break up the vegetable, and taste to see if additional salt/pepper is needed.
- Spoon the farro salad onto a large serving platter or into a bowl, lightly drizzle with any remaining cilantro-mint sauce, and top with cilantro and/or mint leaves for garnish.
Tips & Tidbits for my Farro Salad Recipe with Grilled Vegetables:
- Favorite veggies for grilling: I happen to be partial to eggplant, zucchini, squash, red onion and cherry tomatoes, but feel free to get creative! You can omit any of these and add more of the veggies you prefer, or even add some mushroom, asparagus, bell peppers, or greens.
- Pearled farro for quicker cooking: Typically, what you find in the markets is pearled or semi-pearled farro, so opt for either of those (though pearled is the quickest cooking option). There is no soaking required, just a cooking time of roughly 25 to 30 minutes for tender-yet-chewy texture.
- Serve the farro salad either warm or cool: I tend to favor this farro salad served warm, with freshly-prepared farro and warm grilled veggies. But it's terrific served cool as well, or even as leftovers from the fridge. Leftovers can also be warmed in the microwave very gently, or even in a skillet, if you prefer.
Hungry for more mouthwatering salads? Check out this Panzanella, this Roasted Beet Salad, this White Bean Salad, this Israeli Couscous Salad, this Pesto Pasta Salad, this Warm German Potato Salad, or this Avocado Salad with Zesty Lime Dressing!