This winter farro salad recipe is made with the most delicious blend of seasonal fruit, greens, nuts, crumbled cheese and tossed with a vibrant orange ginger vinaigrette.
Ideal winter salad situation right here. ♡♡♡
I could seriously live on this one for easy breakfasts, lunches or dinners this time of year. It’s loaded up with sweet and juicy pears (or apples, clementines, grapes…whatever fruit is most ripe that week), lots of chewy nutty farro, peppery chopped arugula, tangy crumbled goat cheese or feta, sweet chopped dates, crunchy toasted pecans and paper-thin sliced shallots. Then everything is tossed together in a vibrant orange ginger vinaigrette. So fresh, so filling, and seriously SO so delicious.
It’s a great salad to prep ahead of time for office lunches or easy weeknight dinners. And while we find this salad to be plenty hearty and flavorful served as a vegetarian entrée, it would also be delicious served with grilled chicken, steak, salmon, or just about any other protein of your choice. I’ve included lots of options below for how to play around with the recipe and customize various components to your liking. So please feel free to have fun with this one and make it your own. I know you’re going to love it!
Winter Farro Salad Ingredients
Here are a few brief notes about the ingredients you will need to make this winter farro salad recipe:
Farro: This ancient grain with its deliciously nutty flavor and chewy texture serves as the perfect base for this salad. Feel free to use your preferred type of farro — whole, pearled or semi-pearled — and follow the package instructions (or read my Farro 101 guide) to boil the farro in salted water until it is perfectly al dente.
Pears: I absolutely adore the flavor of a perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy pear in this salad during the wintertime! I’m partial to Bartless, Bosc or Comice pears in this salad, but any variety of ripe fresh pears will do. (Or if pears are no longer in season, see note below for alternative fruits you can use instead.)
Arugula: Fresh arugula adds a delicious peppery flavor and crisp texture to this salad.
Shallots: Thinly-sliced shallots (or you could sub in red onions) add a touch of oniony flavor to complement the other salad ingredients.
Goat or feta cheese: I recommend tossing this salad with either crumbled goat or feta cheese, which add a perfectly tangy and creamy note. That said, if you are making this salad vegan, you’re welcome to omit the cheese altogether.
Medjool dates: Chopped dates add a fabulously rich hint of chewy, caramel-y sweetness to this salad that I love. I highly recommend chopping up some Medjools if possible. But if they are unavailable, you’re welcome to sub in some dried berries (such as cranberries or cherries) instead.
Toasted pecans: We’ve made this salad with pecans, walnuts, almonds, and other various nuts and, to be honest, all are wonderful options here. So choose whichever you love best to add a nutty crunch.
Orange ginger vinaigrette: Finally, we’ll toss this salad with a fresh and vibrant orange vinaigrette made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, fresh ginger, and fresh orange zest and juice. I highly recommend making a double batch so that you can use the leftovers on another salad soon!
Full instructions for how to make this salad are included in the recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips to keep in mind:
Avoid overcooking the farro. Different varieties of farro (pearled, semi-pearled and whole) require different cooking times. So please be sure to double-check the package instructions on whichever variety you choose to use so that the farro is cooked to a tender yet still nice and chewy al dente. Once it reaches that stage, be sure to immediately drain and rinse the farro in cold water so that it does not continue cooking and accidentally turn mushy.
Slice the pears just before serving. In order to prevent the pears from browning, it’s best to slice and mix them into the salad just before serving.
Thinly slice the shallots. I love slicing the shallots paper-thin for these sorts of salads, either using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Shallots generally have a milder flavor than onions, but if you would still like to mellow out their sharpness even more, you can briefly rinse the shallots in cold water before adding them to the salad.
Don’t forget to taste and season. Be sure to give the salad a taste before serving and add more salt and pepper as needed to bring out the best of these delicious flavors!
This winter farro salad recipe is endlessly versatile, so please don’t hesitate to play around with the ingredients and make it your own. For example, feel free to…
Add a protein: Grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, salmon or bacon would all be delicious mixed into (or served alongside) this farro salad.
Add fresh herbs: Fresh mint, cilantro, basil or parsley would add a lovely pop of fresh flavor.
Add other extras: Diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or edamame would all be delicious additions.
Use different fruit: Use fresh apples, apricots, clementines, grapes, mangoes, or pomegranates either in place of the pears or mixed with the pears.
Use a different grain: Use quinoa, brown rice, barley, bulgur, couscous or even orzo in place of the farro.
More Farro Recipes
Looking for more ways to cook with farro? Here are some of our favorite farro recipes to try:
1/2 cup chopped Medjool dates or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Orange Ginger Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
zest + 1 tablespoon of the juice from 1 small orange
pinch of fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Cook the farro. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the farro and about ½ teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook the farro until it is chewy and tender — approximately 15 to 20 minutes for pearled farro, 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled farro, or 35 to 40 minutes for whole farro. Drain the farro in a fine-mesh strainer and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Make the dressing.While the farro is cooking, whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients (or shake together in a sealed jar) until completely emulsified.
Combine.Add the remaining salad ingredients to the large mixing bowl with the farro and drizzle evenly with the dressing. Toss gently until evenly combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.