As soon as I see those bright little cherry tomatoes pop up at the farmers’ market, I know that summer is officially in full swing.
And it’s right around that time that it starts to feel like every other weekend we have a BBQ or potluck to attend. Trust me, I’m not complaining! Especially since cherry tomatoes are the stars of my go-to summer side dish: Summer Farro Salad.
You might recognize this dish from this week’s WIAW.
This side salad is great for several reasons:
1. It tastes great – a fresh, colorful, summery dish
2. It’s flexible – you can substitute in whatever ingredients you have on hand
3. It travels well (BBQs!) and stores easily for up to a week in the fridge
Summer Farro Salad
(Just in case: c = cup, t = teaspoon, T = tablespoon)
2 c (uncooked) farro
1/2 red onion, diced
1 c cheddar cheese, diced into cubes (I use TJ’s raw cheddar, but mozzarella works well, too)
1 T black olives, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Basil & Parsley to garnish… if you have it (I didn’t this time around)
Dressing (note: this also makes an excellent salad dressing)
1/4 c olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T honey
Photo by Sarah Shatz / Food52
1. Add the farro along with 2.5 cups water to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Keeping the covered pot on the stove, turn off the heat and let sit 5 more minutes. Remove from stove, discard any remaining water, and allow to cool.
2. To prepare the dressing, add all ingredients to a jar, tightly screw on lid, and shake!
3. Combine the cooled farro, onion, tomatoes, cheese and olives to a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. The salad is ready to serve as is, but gets better with time as the dressing soaks in.
Note: This recipe is loosely based on a summer salad from Food52, one of my favorite cooking websites.
My first experience with farro took place several summers ago, when I made this recipe in an effort to recreate a deli salad I had seen. Farro is now one of my favorite grains because of its hearty, chewy texture. I’ve tried cooking farro several different ways, but I always come back to this (fool-proof) method.
Feel free to consider this a “base recipe”, and add or subtract whatever ingredients you have (or don’t have) on hand. I’ve been known to add additional veggies (broccoli, zucchini) and I often omit the olives. I don’t recommend skipping the cheese, however, as it balances the raw onion nicely.