Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

I gotta say, I thought long and hard about putting up this post about one of my favorite, favorite salads, which features farro with tomatoes and fresh herbs and onion and olive oil and other glorious things.  Not because it isn’t delicious and healthy and just plain beautiful on the plate.  Not because I’m not a good sharer – I am, I promise!  But because more than one, two or three people have heard me rave about this and then said “Um…sounds good, but what’s farro?”

And to be totally, perfectly honest, I had no idea what farro was myself until a few years back when I ran into a bag of it at my favorite Italian grocery store.  It’s a form of wheat grain that looks a little like barley, but has a nutty, hearty, comforting taste that has a personality all its very own.  If you don’t have a favorite Italian grocery store near you, there’s lots of places on line that sell farro (like this one) and I promise, it’s worth the ordering. Mine came in a little brown cloth bag with Italian writing on it, which made me love it even more.

I almost didn’t want to open it because the bag was so perfect.  Then I remembered how much I love farro, and I did.

Farro looks like little brown grains of rice, but it cooks up into something that looks more like barley, and tastes like heaven.

Especially when you mix it into this quick and wonderful salad that lets you use up some of those gorgeous and enthusiastically growing herbs that are all around us, and some nice summer tomatoes (I’m still using sweet little cherry tomatoes in any dish that calls for fresh tomatoes because the big guys aren’t quite in season yet, but I’m counting the days!).

After you cook and drain the farro, give it a chance to cool and then mix it up with some of those tomatoes, some sweet onion (I love Vidalia onions in this dish), some herbs and garlic, a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  This makes a lovely side dish for grilled chicken or steak or fish.  Or you can do what I do, which is just eat a big bowl of it all by itself and be perfectly, perfectly happy.

So, if you’ve never heard of farro before, now you have and you’ve gotta try it!  Here’s the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs
Serves: 6 servings
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cups farro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound tomatoes, chopped (use cherry tomatoes if the big ones aren't in season)
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped (I like Vidalias!)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Put water, salt and farro in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and pour into a large serving bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes, onion and herbs and toss to combine.
  3. Whisk together the vinegar, pepper and olive oil, add to the farro mixture and toss. Add salt and pepper as needed and serve.


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  1. Amy says

    Love! The tomatoes are prolific here, and we’ve been practically living on panzanella. Was thinking of doing a wheatberry salad, but you’ve got me intrigued by the farro. I’ve intended to try it forever, but never seem to get around to it. I’m making a Whole Foods trip ASAP to grab some and get your salad on our table! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kate says

      Oh, panzanella – I love, love, love it. I’m so glad you are trying the farro – let me know what you think!

  2. says

    I loooovveee farro but rarely use it because of how expensive it is! This dish seems worth it though. Way worth it. Fresh-flavored perfection.

  3. Sue says

    Made this today and it was a big hit at dinner! Love farro – the taste is so nutty ad delicious! Thanks for posting this!

  4. ruthie says

    I love grain salads! I don’t think I’ve ever tried farro, though, so it will go on my shopping list. Another winner, Kate! Thanks.

      • ruthie says

        Well, so far, I’m a loyal fan of Kashi Pilaf. It has something like 7 grains and seeds. Who knows, it may even have farro in it. 😉 Either that or lentils are usually the basis of my “grain” salads, but with all of you mentioning the nutty flavor of farro, I’m definitely there. I bet I could cook it in my rice cooker. I do all my lentils and grains in there and they come out great, so I don’t see why farro wouldn’t.

  5. enricaThis recipe is says

    As I am Italian I know farro and I can say with no doubt that’s gorgeous. This recipe is fantastic for sure.


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