This summer farro salad combines hearty whole grain farro with juicy blueberries, salty feta cheese and crunchy walnuts for the perfect side dish or light lunch. The creamy green tahini dressing pulls everything together.
Can I just eat this for lunch every day for the rest of the summer please? Okay so yes, I would get tired of it after a week or so but add a side of watermelon and an ice cold drink and this is what summer dreams are made of.
Here are the core ingredients you need to bring the actual salad together. I love a simple whole grain salad as both a side dish or a light lunch in the summertime heat.
- Farro, a chewy and nutty-tasting whole grain that works beautifully in salads. It also cooks fast.
- English cucumber. Refreshing and hydrating.
- Fresh blueberries for beautiful color. The juiciness of these pairs so well with the other textures.
- Feta cheese, a salty and savory contrast.
- Walnuts for crunch.
- Red onion, minced, so it doesn’t overpower the whole thing. If you want to cut down on the “bite” of raw onions, you can always soak them in cold water for 10-15 minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
My basic no-fail formula for a great summer side dish: grain + fruit + flavorful cheese + nut + dressing. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite!
What is Farro?
Farro, which is actually pronounced “FARE-oh” is an ancient grain – meaning it has been consumed for thousands of years and has been largely unchanged over time (1). It falls into the same category as quinoa, millet and sorghum, all of which pack a big nutritional punch and are typically purchased unrefined.
Health Benefits of Whole Wheat
Farro is whole wheat, which means it is not suitable for gluten-free diets. And while wheat seems to get a bad rap these day, the health benefits are well established including reduced risk for many chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke (2, 3).
The high fiber content is likely responsible since as we know, fiber acts like roughage going through the digestive tract pulling in water and waste while keeping things moving smoothly. Fiber is also highly satisfying (i.e. hard to overeat) and promotes a healthy gut microbiota in addition to its many other amazing beneficial qualities.
Green Tahini Dressing
Should I rename this blog, All Things Tahini? Just kidding. I’m leaning on it again in this fabulous dressing recipe and I’m not apologizing for it. The cool thing is that tahini is rich and creamy but still vegan and dairy free for those of you with dietary restrictions. It has a wonderful deep flavor and works well in so many recipes.
For this dressing, I blended in fresh parsley for flavor along with some lemon juice for brightness. Something sweet is usually a good thing with tahini, even if just a drizzle so there is a touch of maple syrup to balance out the bitterness.
Can’t find tahini? My favorite is this one from Soom Foods and it’s available on Amazon.
You can certainly the dressing ahead of time and use it on just about everything from traditional salads to grain bowls. It should last for about 5-7 days in the fridge. I know the food processor can be a little bit high maintenance, but trust me here.
Pair this summer farro salad with your favorite grilled entreé for dinner, or as a light lunch as leftovers the next day. It’s incredibly delicious and satisfying. What are your other favorite summer salads? I would love to hear about them in the comments.
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Summer Farro Salad with Green Tahini
This Summer Farro Salad combines hearty whole grain farro with juicy blueberries, salty feta cheese and crunchy walnuts for the perfect side dish or light lunch. The creamy green tahini dressing pulls everything together.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup seeded and diced English cucumber
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice from one lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) Italian parsley
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 cup warm water to thin (you might not need all of it)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Put a medium saucepan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook and drain farro per package directions.
- Meanwhile, add tahini through garlic powder to a food processor and run until creamy. Slowly stream in warm water until it’s the consistency you prefer (mine was still on thicker side, not quite pourable). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer cooked farro, blueberries, onion, cucumber, feta and walnuts to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the dressing and fold into the ingredients (you’ll have some dressing leftover).
- Top with additional blueberries and walnuts before serving.
- The equipment section above provides affiliate links to things I use often in my kitchen and love.
- This is best served at room temperature. If you make it ahead of time, just pull it out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 242 calories
- Fat: 13 grams
- Carbohydrates: 29 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 8 garms
Keywords: blueberry farro salad, tahini dressing, summer salads, tahini, farro, blueberries, feta, walnuts
1. Whole Grains Council. Whole Grains 101 (Wheat). Retrieved from https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whats-whole-grain/ancient-grains.
2. Zong G, Gao A, Hu FB and Sun Q. Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Circulation. 2016; 133(24):2370-80. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25646321.
3. Dagfinn A, Keum N, Giovannucci E, et al. Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ. 2016;353:i2716. Retrieved from https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2716.
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