This delicious Warm Farro Salad comes filled with caramelized onions, roasted eggplant, spinach, sweet grapes, feta cheese, and drizzled with the creamiest walnut mustard dressing. Flavorful and healthy, it’s my absolute favorite way to enjoy this hearty grain.
The Best Farro Salad Recipe
I originally made this salad years ago on a rainy, gloomy afternoon. I was in the mood for something comforting without all the typical classic comforts like goopy globby cheese and heavy cream. It was the perfect comforting compromise and has since remained my favorite farro salad recipe. If you know me then you know that I am all about salad recipes (fresh salads, cold salads, noodle salads…) that come with a sweet fruit surprise. Grapes are one of the best fruits to add to salads as they hold up and don’t get soggy.
These fresh, sweet, crisp grapes paired against the earthy flavors of this salad work like magic. Add a little tangy feta and you may find yourself with a new favorite rainy day salad, too 🙂
I highly recommend the long cook time for the caramelized onions, but if you’re short on time, just cook them as long as possible. Caramelized onions are rich and buttery and sweet and SO good!
What is Farro?
Farro is a nutrient-rich whole grain with a nutty, chewy texture when cooked, very similar to barley. It comes in pearled, semi-pearled, and whole-grain varieties. Since it is a form of wheat, farro is not gluten-free.
There are several comparable substitutes for farro when making this salad. My top picks include:
How to Make Farro Salad
1. Prepare and roast the eggplant:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Toss the cubed eggplant with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Spread over the prepared baking sheet. Roast until tender and golden, approximately 25 minutes. Learn more: simple roasted eggplant recipe.
2. Caramelize the onions:
Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and mix well. Cook the onions low and slow over medium to medium-low heat and stirring frequently for approximately 40 minutes, or until deeply browned and caramelized. Learn more: perfect caramelized onions.
3. Cook the farro:
Depending on the type of farro you purchased, cook it according to its specific package instructions (I used quick cook farro from Trader Joe’s).
4. Drain the farro and add the spinach:
Once the farro has finished cooking, drain any cooking liquid that was not absorbed by the farro. With the farro still in the pot, immediately add the fresh spinach to the farro and mix well to combine. The heat and the steam from the farro will help cook the spinach.
5. Prepare the creamy walnut Dijon dressing:
Add the walnuts, olive oil, white wine vinegar, water, dijon mustard, honey, and a pinch of salt and black pepper to a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Combine with roasted eggplant and caramelized onions with the cooked farro and spinach. Add the chopped parsley, pistachios, grapes, and crumbled feta cheese and gently toss to combine.
Serve drizzled with your prepared walnut Dijon dressing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I make this ahead of time? Yes. You can prepare each part of this salad or just the most time-consuming parts ahead of time (the caramelized onions, for example). It’s a great way to use up leftover roasted eggplant or caramelized onions from previous recipes, too.
2. Does this farro salad store well? Yes. For best results, wait to add the walnut dressing until just before serving. Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
3. What can I add instead of the roasted eggplant? If you don’t like eggplant, you could simply leave it out or swap it for another type of roasted vegetable. My top choices include roasted butternut squash, roasted carrots, roasted cauliflower, or even asparagus.
Have you tried making this Farro Salad Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Farro Salad with Caramelized Onions
- 2 small eggplants - chopped into small cubes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 2 yellow onions - cut into thick strips
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1¾ cups farro - cooked according to package instructions
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 cups red grapes - halved
- ⅓ cup toasted pistachios
- ¼ cup fresh parsley - chopped
- ⅓ cup feta cheese - crumbled
FOR THE DRESSING
- ⅓ cup toasted walnuts
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup water - plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt + pepper - to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the cubed eggplant on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine (the eggplant will not be coated in oil since it is such a great absorber). Roast the eggplant until tender and golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.
- For the onions, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to the skillet followed by the onions, trying not to crowd the pan. Mix well to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook your onions for approximately 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the onions are deeply browned.
- Cook your farro according to package instructions (I used quick cook farro from TJs).
- Once the farro has finished cooking, drain any additional liquid and immediately add the spinach. Toss the spinach with the farro as the heat and steam will help wilt the spinach.
- Once the eggplant and onions have finished cooking, add them to the farro and spinach along with the chopped parsley, pistachios, grapes, and feta. Gently toss everything together to combine.
- To prepare the dressing, add the walnuts, olive oil, white wine vinegar, water, dijon mustard, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl of your blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste and add additional water to thin, if desired.
- Divide the salad between the desired number of bowls and drizzle with the dressing.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
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