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A simple, flavorful farro recipe for any day of the week — a hearty vegetarian farro salad loaded with roasted sweet potatoes, crispy kale leaves and feta cheese in a sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Every bite is a tasty balance of smoky, tangy and sweet!
The absolutely delicious grain bowl with sweet potatoes salad is a big hit in my family — it’s hearty enough to serve as a meatless main dish for lunch or dinner, and it’s perfect for meal prepping!
You can also serve it as a side dish paired with chicken meatballs or other cooked protein or vegetables.
This salad has a nice balance of flavors and textures that’s hard not to love. Along with the nutty grains, you get spice-roasted sweet potatoes, kale leaves that get crispy in the oven, and tangy feta cheese crumbles — so good!
Nutrient-packed farro for the win
I adore farro, the nutty whole grain that looks like chubby version of brown rice. If you’re looking to add more really tasty whole grains into your meals, farro salads with vegetables or this warm farro risotto recipe are my top recommendations!
Farro is also on my list of 10 Best Pantry Staples — it’s an essential ingredient to keep on hand for those days when quick, healthful meals are in order.
If you’re just discovering farro, here’s a few things to know:
- Farro is a type of ancient grain with a soft chewy texture.
- It’s pronounced FAR-OH.
- The grains have an abundance of healthful nutrients like fiber, protein and minerals.
- Pearled or semi-pearled farro (which is typically the kind you’ll find in your market) cooks in about 20 minutes in boiling water.
To cook farro, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil Add a large pinch of salt and the farro. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the grains are plump and tender, usually about 20 minutes.
Farro in salads
Farro is a perfect grain to use in a cold farro salad recipe. This one stands alone as a substantial salad, and it’s generously distributed with chunky sweet potatoes and leafy greens.
The dressing is a simple balsamic vinaigrette that pairs so beautifully with the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes — it’s a match your taste buds will love!
Ingredients you’ll need to make farro salad:
- Farro: pearled or semi-pearled
- Sweet potatoes: Roast them just before assembling the salad, or use leftover roasted sweet potatoes.
- Kale: Either curly or lacinato (Tuscan kale) will work
- Red onion or shallot
- Spices: Dried oregano, smoked paprika and crushed red chili
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Feta cheese or other soft tangy cheese
Farro recipe steps:
Make-ahead and storage tips:
- Cook the farro up to 1-2 days ahead (keep in the refrigerator).
- Make the dressing 1-2 days ahead and refrigerate.
- The salad makes perfect leftovers and will keep refrigerated 3-5 days — you can warm it slightly in a microwave, but the salad also tastes delicious straight from the fridge!
Warm Farro Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Kale
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (200 g) pearled farro
- Kosher salt
- 1 ½ pounds (680 g) sweet potatoes (2-3), peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or sweet paprika
- ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper, to taste
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
- ¼ cup (38 g) crumbled feta cheese
- Tahini dressing, optional
Make the dressing:
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring a 3-4 quarts water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and the farro. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter or bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil to keep the grains moist.
- While the farro cooks, put the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold them in one layer. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, oregano, paprika, chili and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and toss to coat evenly with the spices. Roast 15 minutes.
- Take the sheet pan out of the oven and add the sliced onion. Gently toss together with a spatula until the onions are evenly distributed. Put the pan back in the oven and continue roasting until the sweet potatoes are tender and golden, 5-10 more minutes. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the platter with the farro.
- Arrange the kale on the same baking sheet. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the kale about 5 minutes, until the leaves are wilted and the edges are beginning to crisp.
- Add the kale to the sweet potatoes and farro. Pour the dressing over and toss well. Sprinkle the cheese on top with tahini dressing (if using) and serve warm or at room temperature.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The salad keeps up to 3 days refrigerated. Bring to room temperature or warm slightly in a microwave before serving.
- Cook the farro up to 1-2 days ahead of making the salad.
- Make the dressing 1-2 days and keep in the refrigerator.