Are you hosting any get-to-togethers this spring/summer? A Memorial Day fete, perhaps? This vibrant salad would be perfect! If I am hosting a party, I’d say 9 times out of 10 I’m serving some iteration of a farro salad. It’s one of my entertaining hacks for feeding a hungry crowd. Here’s my case for farro: it can be prepped in advance without getting mushy; it can stretch a salad to feed an amorphous RSVP list; it soaks up dressings like a dream; it’s packed with fiber and protein, making it very filling; and it’s readily adaptable to the seasons. Leftovers store very well, so party or not, it’s a great salad to prep on Sunday for a week of delicious lunches ahead.
This spring version is a particular favorite, with snap peas, marinated artichokes, radishes, mint, arugula, goat cheese and a zippy roasted shallot vinaigrette. There are so many lovely flavors, colors and textures combined in one beautiful salad. Feel free to adapt with the seasons and to what you have on hand. In summer, perhaps subbing in heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, pickled onions and feta or in autumn or winter, kale, radicchio, roasted squash and sliced apple. The roasted shallot dressing is the constant variable that works wonders with all of my farro salad combinations, of which there are many!
I love serving this salad alongside roasted salmon or chicken or a frittata. Leftovers are great with a large scoop of hummus and sliced avocado. What leftovers aren’t improved by a scoop of hummus and some avocado? If you plan on making this salad in advance, I’d recommend drizzling the farro with a bit of the dressing to allow it to soak in the flavor while stored. Store the rest of the ingredients separately until you plan to serve it. I like layering the farro on top of the arugula and arranging the rest of the ingredients on top for a pretty presentation. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle with more dressing, toss and serve. In the recipe below, I share my method for making perfectly al dente (and never mushy) farro every single time. It’s a trick I learned from Bon Appetit, and I will never turn back! I highly recommend following this method for cooking farro and other similar grains.
Have a wonderful long weekend! Enjoy! xo Maggie
Spring Farro Salad with Arugula, Peas, Artichokes, Radishes, Mint, Goat Cheese + Roasted Shallot Dressing
Yield 6 servings
- 1 cup farro
- 2 large handfuls sugar snap peas (approx. 8 oz/ 2 cups)
- 1 cup marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 4 radishes, cleaned and shaved or very thinly sliced
- 4 oz log goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed and roughly chopped or torn
- 6 cups baby arugula, loosely packed
Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and quartered
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tbsp
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 and set a large pot of water to boil.
- Place quartered shallot atop a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Fold foil and twist the edges shut to create a little packet. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until very tender.
- Once the water comes to a boil, season the water generously with sea salt. Blanch the snap peas for 1.5 minutes. While they blanch, fill a bowl with ice water to have at the ready. Remove peas from the water with a strainer (don’t drain the water!), and shock in the ice bath. Drain promptly when cool and set aside.
- Cook the farro using the pasta method in the same boiling water in which you blanched the peas. Add the farro to the boiling, salted water and cook until al dente. For me, this took exactly 20 minutes using Bobs’ Red Mill Farro, but cooking times may vary between 20-30 minutes depending on the type of farro you use. Drain and spread out onto a baking sheet to cool (spreading out to cool prevents the dreaded mushiness!).
- Make the dressing. Place the roasted shallot and any juices accumulated in the foil packet with all the other dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary.
- Assemble the salad. Layer the farro on top of the arugula and arrange the rest of the ingredients on top for a pretty presentation. Drizzle generously with the vinaigrette when you’re ready to serve. You may have a little dressing leftover. Enjoy!
If you plan on making this salad in advance, I’d recommend drizzling the cooled farro with a bit of the dressing to allow it to soak in the flavor while stored. Store the rest of the ingredients separately until you plan to serve it.