feasting with friends

Insalata Farro

insalata farroThe ingredients of this salad are somewhat a morphing of winter into spring, using what is available in the markets. From winter root veggies [roasted beets] to the appearance of spring produce [spring peas]. The “core” of the salad is farro, one of my favorite grains. I love the nuttiness in flavor it offers. Combined with the beets, peas, tomatoes and grated cheese it is a colorful and delicious dish. The perfect starter…or in my case lunch!

insalata farroThis is another restaurant dish [Shrimp Diablo was the first] offered in the recent series of recipes our local newspaper provided. This salad is from chef Luciano DelSignore of Bacco Ristorante. A local, fine dining [Italian] establishment. Yummy! I’ve adapted the recipe to our taste and based on what was available for purchase. The results were still delicious. This recipe is extremely adaptable to say the least.insalata farroNote: The total time required to make this salad includes the amount of time necessary to roast the beets, making it seem labor intensive. In actuality, the salad prep time is closer to 15 minutes if your beets are pre-roasted.

insalata farro

Insalata Farro

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

insalata farro
1 cup baby beets, roasted, peeled & quartered
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups dry farro
Salt to taste
1 cup campari tomato filets [see instructions below], about 4 tomatoes
1 cup spring peas [fresh or frozen, thawed]
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup shaved Pecorino Romano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

•Prepare the beets: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place beets on a baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil. Bake about 45 minutes or until a small knife can pass through beets without any resistance. Remove from oven. When beets are cool enough to handle, but still warm, peel them. Cut into wedges and set aside.


•Prepare the farro. Rinse the farro in cold water. In a large pot, combine about 8 cups of water, farro and about 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium simmer, cover and continue cooking the farro for about 30 minutes or until it’s cooked through. You should be able to bite through the grain without any resistance. Pour into colander and rinse with cold water until farro is cooled down. Set aside.

•Prepare the tomatoes: Score an “X” on the top of the tomato. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Add the tomatoes to boiling water and boil about 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes to the ice water to stop the cooking process. The skin should already start coming off; peel the rest of it off using a small knife or your fingers. Then cut the tomato in half and remove the insides. Once just the flesh remains, cut it into strips and set aside.

•Assembly: In a medium mixing bowl, combine farro, tomatoes, peas, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between four cold plates; garnish the top of the salad with the shaved Pecorino and beets.

insalata farro

Recipe adapted from here.


  1. From some of the comments above there are a few of us who have not tried farro before, me included. That’s what is great about your recipe it is not only pretty, delicious and healthy but you have introduced a new “grain”. Thanks for sharing Nancy 🙂

    • You bet Judi! I love it – I often use it place of quinoa in recipes. I prefer it’s hardier texture and larger size to the smaller and softer quinoa.

    • Not really, as farro is a whole grain, whereas quinoa is actually a seed. However, that hasn’t stopped me from substituting one for the other in recipes! Farro is larger than quinoa (more the size of rice), it has lots of healthy attributes as well as very little starch.

  2. What a great salad for this time of the year. You’ve taken advantage of what’s available to come up with a tasty and good-looking dish, Nancy. And to think, I just bought some farro and was wondering what to do with it. Hmmm …. 🙂

    • Thanks John…it was simple yet perfect. Glad I could help you find a use for your recent purchase! I feel this taste even better the next day – makes a great leftover 🙂

  3. Just bought Pecorino Romano the other day, but haven’t used it yet, this salad is such a great idea! specially because I’ve been over doing it with pasta lately 🙂

    • I bet you’ll like it! It’s somewhat like spelt, and it does have similar undertones to oats and barley. It cooks fairly quick as compared to those or wheat-berries though. It becomes somewhat creamy in the cook process, much like risotto, yet doesn’t get gummy. It has a very distinct, nutty taste and a nice firm texture. It also happens to be quite low in gluten. Long story short…it is “like” other grains…yet very much it’s own!

  4. Woohooo! This looks gorgeous 🙂 I’ve never tried farro, but a little research suggests it’s almost the same (if not identical) to spelt, of which I happen to have a new, unopened box sitting happily in my cupboard … In fact, it seems rather too merry. I don’t think it knows what’s coming to it … mwahahaHA.
    So I’m feeling guilty now. I think spelt would actually LIKE to be cooked, right? And in such a pretty dish, too!

    • Lol, thanks trixpin! I would think that unopened box of spelt would be delighted to be included in such a gorgeous and healthy salad! Go for it:)

  5. Nancy, this is stunning. You’ve chosen such wonderful flavors, the tomatoes, peas and beets mixed with the lemon and pecorino, all on top of lovely farro… LOVE this. I will be making this very soon. It’s such a perfect “take to work” lunch…or even a light dinner. I’d even eat this for breakfast!
    Lovely post.. Wonderful recipe! xx

    • Thank you Prudy 🙂 I find I like pretty much anything with farro, but this mix of flavors was exceptional! The touch of lemon really brightens it up…and in return, me too!

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