This salad is very satisfying on its own, but sometimes I use it to justify salami for a meal—either tucked in to a few inches of baguette or sliced and added to the salad. I also like that it is “instant salad” with built-in vinaigrette, just add a scoop or two to some greens and you’re done. (Of course, an extra drizzle of good olive oil never hurts anyone.)
Farro has a chewy texture and delicious, nutty flavor and is high in fiber and protein—you can read more about it here. The farro from Timeless Natural Food is organically grown in Montana and is semi-pearled which shortens the cooking time compared to unpearled wheat berries.
When you’re cooking your grains, there’s no magic. Simmer grains in water and taste to determine if you want them more or less cooked. You don’t have to exactly measure the water, but recipes do usually supply guidelines, so while you’re learning, follow those. If there’s water left when your grains are done, simply drain out the excess. For reference, a cup or two of Timeless farro cooks in about 15 minutes.
When I first tried the “Jimbo’s” recipe from the Timeless Natural Food’s website, I only had about a cup of farro in my pantry. Fortuitously, I had the remains of a bag of sprouted spelt berries from my friend Judy at Conservation Grains, exactly ½ cup! So, I cooked them together in a pot. The spelt remained a bit more firm than the farro, but the mix worked well together. So, this recipe will work great with farro or really any wheat berry, you just might need to cook the grain a bit longer than the time mentioned in the recipe.
Farro or Spelt Berry Salad
adapted from Timeless Natural Food's "Jimbo's Mediterranean Farro Salad"
- 3 cups water
- 1½ cups uncooked semi-pearled farro (Timeless Natural Food) or spelt berries (Conservation Grains) cooked yield = a bit more than 2x, so 3–4 cups; (salads like this are easy, it doesn't have to be exact just in the ballpark)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- a couple pinches of flaky salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
About 3 cups of seasonal salad ingredients: something green like cucumber or blanched asparagus or steamed broccoli florets, pitted and halved Kalamata olives, sliced red bell pepper or peppadews or roasted red bell pepper, sliced sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped scallion, chives, spring onion, or red onion, pickled red onion would be great too!
- ¾ cup feta, crumbled into large chunks try Belfiori or Amaltheia, cow and goat, both are great!
Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the farro (or spelt berries) and salt, lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until grains are tender, about 15–20 minutes; drain off any excess water. Transfer cooked grain to a large bowl and let cool.
Make the dressing in a small jar—whisk to combine the vinegar, Dijon, pepper, and salt then while continuing to whisk, drizzle in the olive oil.
Add the vegetables to the cool farro (or spelt berries). Drizzle with the dressing and mix to combine. Crumble in the feta and mix gently. Store in the refrigerator. It'll keep well for a few days.