Mediterranean farro salad is packed with tasty veggies, fresh herbs, creamy feta, and crunchy nuts, tossed with chewy farro and a tangy cumin dressing.
This one’s an excellent recipe to make ahead and great for lunch, dinner, potlucks, or as a starter and side dish. You’ll love the vibrant flavors and colors of this dish.
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Farro is an ancient wheat grain with plenty of nutrition and health benefits thanks to its fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and plant protein.
You will love farro because it has a satisfyingly chewy texture, adds substance to a meal, and makes you feel great after eating it.
It also cooks relatively fast and has a lovely nutty taste that goes well with most vegetables.
For this Mediterranean farro salad, we mix the boiled farro with diced and roasted veggies. The farro cooks while the veggies roast in the oven, so the recipe is quick and easy to assemble.
Then we toss everything with our delicious cumin dressing that you can make with ground cumin, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
Finally, you can top the salad with crushed nuts – we love it with pistachios – and crumbled feta cheese.
In about 30 minutes, you’ll have a delicious, wholesome, and satisfying farro salad that everyone will love.
We like to use pearled farro because it cooks relatively fast, in about 20 minutes.
You can find pearled farro in most supermarkets these days. It’s the most common variety in the United States and Europe.
For this recipe, you can substitute barley, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat for farro.
Note: Farro is the Italian word (used worldwide) to describe three varieties of this ancient grain. The three types of farro are spelt, einkorn, and emmer. If you are new to the world of farro, ignore those varieties and get one that simply says “farro” on the package.
We cook the farro in vegetable broth to infuse it with flavor. You can substitute water or chicken broth for vegetable broth.
You can use any eggplant for this Mediterranean Farro salad. We use globe eggplant or Italian eggplant. They have dark shiny skin, and you can find them in most stores.
Most zucchini varieties are suitable for this recipe. We use green zucchini, but yellow zucchini, grey zucchini, and other summer squash varieties work well for this recipe.
Red onion adds sweetness to this recipe, and we recommend adding it to other vegetables as they roast in the oven.
Use jarred roasted bell peppers, or make roasted red peppers yourself, peel them, chop them, and add them to the salad.
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Go for extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper to season the veggies before roasting them.
Pistachio nuts add a nice crunchy and nutty flavor which fits well with the other ingredients and the cumin dressing.
You can substitute shaved almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, or slivered almonds for the pistachio nuts.
Feta (or non-dairy feta) is an optional ingredient; however, we recommend crumbling a few pieces on top of the farro salad.
It adds creaminess and a tangy, savory flavor, making the other flavors pop.
We add plenty of fresh flat-leaf parsley to complete the Mediterranean flavor palette. You can also use other fresh herbs like basil, mint, purslane, and dill.
This simple cumin dressing with fragrant spices, garlic, fresh lemon, and good-quality extra virgin olive oil represents the essence of Mediterranean cuisine: simple, fresh, healthy, and flavorful. To make it, you’ll need:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly squeeze lemon juice
- Minced or grated fresh garlic
- Ground cumin
- Sweet paprika, not smoked
- Salt and pepper – sea salt and kosher salt are best
- Mustard (optional but recommended)
Step 1: Boil the Farro
Rinse the farro, then add it to a pot with boiling vegetable broth.
Simmer on medium to low heat until the farro absorbs the liquid and it’s cooked al dente, tender but with a chewy bite. It takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir occasionally to prevent the farro from sticking to the pot.
Tip: You’ll need 3 parts of broth for 1 part of farro. For example, if you use 1 cup of farro, you’ll need 3 cups of vegetable broth.
We use pearled farro which has some of the bran removed and cooks faster. However, some farro varieties might take a little longer to cook. In this case, add more broth as needed.
There’s no need to drain the farro unless there’s broth left in the pot.
Step 2: Roast the Veggies
Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Chop the eggplant and zucchini into 1/2-Inch (about 1 cm) cubes. Slice the red onion.
Transfer the veggies onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and season them with olive oil, and salt.
Toss well, spread out on the tray, and roast them until soft and slightly charred (about 20 minutes).
Step 3: Make Cumin Dressing
To a small bowl, add olive oil, fresh lemon juice, mustard, ground cumin, paprika, grated garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Whisk until ingredients are combined.
Step 4: Mix the Salad
To a large mixing bowl, add cooked farro, roasted vegetables, chopped bell peppers, chopped parsley, and the dressing.
Toss well and arrange onto a serving platter. Top with pistachio nuts and crumbled feta cheese.
You can serve the salad immediately or store it in the refrigerator and eat it cold or at room temperature.
Mediterranean farro salad with chickpeas
Add a can of chickpeas to make this Mediterranean farro salad with roasted vegetables even more nutritious and fulfilling.
The farro and chickpeas combined will provide you with more than enough high-quality and complete plant-based protein.
Farro Salad with crunchy veggies
If you feel like a crunchy and refreshing farro salad and don’t want to turn on your oven, make our classic farro salad with a delicious Italian dressing.
For this one, we use crunchy vegetables such as cucumber, cherry tomatoes, black or kalamata olives, green or red bell pepper, corn, and a few simple ingredients.
Check out our farro salad recipe with crunchy veggies.
Serve this as a main meal for lunch or dinner, bring to potlucks and picnics, or serve it in smaller portions as an appetizer or side dish.
You can serve it cold from the fridge or at room temperature.
Make ahead: this is an excellent recipe to make ahead as it keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Then, the next day, the salad is even tastier as the flavors have time to meld.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezing: we do not recommend freezing this recipe; however, you can freeze cooked farro for up to 3 months.
To do so, let it cool down completely, transfer it into freezer-friendly zip lock bags, and freeze. Then, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, microwave, or boiling water.
Yes, one of the pillars of a Mediterranean diet is whole grains, including farro.
According to the latest science, the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest human diet.
It’s based on the traditional cuisines of Italy, Greece, and other countries touched by the mediterranean sea (note the word “traditional” and not “modern” cuisine, which have been heavily westernized and rendered unhealthy).
It’s a predominantly plant-based diet based on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and spices. Olive oil is the primary source of fat, and it’s a diet with less meat than most other Western diets.
Anecdotally, if you travel around Italy in the summer months, you’ll see fresh ready-made, single-portion farro salads packed with fresh veggies in most supermarkets.
A great way of adding farro to one’s diet is by using it in salads and soups. You can cook the farro in advance and keep it handy in the freezer or fridge.
Yes, farro contains gluten, although in lower quantities than other grains, and it is often unsuitable for gluten-free diets.
More Salad Recipes
If you’re a fan of wholesome bowls of salads, take a pick from these easy and healthy salad recipes:
- Black bean salad
- Couscous salad
- Panzanella – Italian bread salad
- Avocado salad
- Barley salad
- Rice salad
- Sweet potato salad
- Cauliflower and chickpea salad
- Chickpea pasta salad
For many more salad ideas, check out our salads category page.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
- 1 cup farro uncooked
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 eggplant cut into ½-Inch cubes
- 2 zucchini cut into ½-Inch cubes
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup jarred roasted bell pepper diced
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts toasted
- 2 ounces feta cheese or non-dairy feta
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas optional
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 small clove garlic grated
- ½ teaspoon cumin ground
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
BOIL THE FARRO
- Bring 3 cups vegetable broth to a boil.Rinse 1 cup farro, add it to the broth and simmer until liquid is absorbed and the farro is cooked al dente (about 20 – 30 minutes).Stir occasionally to prevent the Farro from sticking to the pot.
ROAST THE VEGGIES
- Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C. Chop 1 eggplant and 2 zucchini into ½-Inch (1 cm) cubes and slice 1 red onion.Transfer veggies onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and season with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Toss and roast the veggies for 20 minutes or until tender and slightly charred.
MAKE CUMIN DRESSING
- To a small bowl, add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 small clove garlic (grated), ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.Whisk until ingredients are well combined.
MIX THE SALAD
- To a large mixing bowl, add cooked farro, roasted vegetables, ½ cup jarred roasted bell pepper (diced), ¼ cup parsley (chopped), dressing, and toss to combine.
- Arrange onto a serving platter, top with 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts and 2 ounces feta cheese (crumbled).You can serve the salad immediately or store it in the refrigerator and eat cold or at room temperature.
- Add 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas to make the salad even more nutritious and fulfilling.
- Farro: barley, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
- Vegetable broth: water or chicken broth.
- Eggplant: butternut squash, pumpkin, kabocha squash.
- Zucchini: cauliflower florets.
- Red onion: white or yellow onion, shallot.
- Jarred bell pepper: roasted bell peppers, raw bell peppers.
- Pistachio nuts: slivered almonds, pine nuts, walnuts.
- Feta: shaved parmesan.
- Parsley: dill, mint, basil, chives, purslane.
- Cumin dressing: Italian dressing or honey mustard dressing.
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