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Mediterranean Farro Salad with Hummus Dressing

Mediterranean Farro Salad with Hummus Dressing 1

One of the things I enjoy very much about the turn of the calendar year is the parallel turn of the food year, from autumn to winter.

We wave goodbye to super-heavy brown foods and embrace bright citruses and nourishing grains. Pomegranates and winter greens and windowsill herbs. Sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Hello, my lovelies! I’ve missed you so.

Mediterranean Farro Salad with Hummus Dressing 2

So January finds me indulging in my year-round crush on whole grains: farro, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat. My favorite breakfast lately? Quinoa and millet tossed lightly with a tarragon-lemon-honey vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg. Poked, of course, so the yolk runs everywhere.

Lunch includes a side of farro mixed with whatever leftover vegetables are cooling patiently in the fridge. Oh, and my latest creation and obsession: herbed hummus dressing. Equally delicious as a dip (and crazy healthy, too), I’ve been making a batch every weekend to use as a spread on crusty baguette slices, a condiment on turkey sandwiches, and a dressing for this farro salad.

Mediterranean Farro Salad with Hummus Dressing 3

Studded with refreshing cucumbers and peppers, pomegranate seeds give a pleasant pop of sweet and tangy among the nutty flavors of the farro and quinoa. Refreshing and nourishing at the same time.

I know I’m waxing rhapsodic here about a grain salad. But, I suspect ya’ll understand. That’s the amazing thing about the interwebs and foodie blogs. When your peeps shake their heads over salad swooning, pull up a seat here. We foodies know the deal.

Have a great weekend with lots of fabulous food!

Karen, xoxo

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Mediterranean Farro Salad with Hummus Dressing

Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes making the dressing)
Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 generous meal-size servings, or 8 side-dish servings

1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
3/4 cup farro
1/4 cup quinoa
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup prepared chicken strips or vegetarian protein substitute (optional)
1/4 to 1/3 cup hummus vinaigrette (recipe)

1. Place oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat and warm until shimmering. Add farro and stir well to coat. Cook for 2-3 minutes to toast the grains. Turn heat to high and add water and salt. When the water boils, reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot, and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Add the quinoa to the pot, stir gently to mix in with the farro, recover, and simmer for 20 minutes more. Drain the grains through a sieve and place in a large bowl (or spread out on a baking sheet and move to a bowl later). Set aside to cool to room temperature.

4. When the grains have cooled, add the chopped vegetables, pistachios, pomegranate seeds and chicken/protein substitute (if using). Gently stir in 1/4 cup of the hummus dressing. Taste, and add more dressing, salt and pepper, if necessary.

5. Salad can be served at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

Tip: You can prep the vegetables and make the hummus dressing while the grains are cooling. Also, grains can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Bring to nearly room temperature before assembling the salad.

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Friday 2nd of March 2012

Where is everyone finding farro? I'm in North County San Diego and cannot find it in any stores. Really don't want to order it online, but I'm dying to try it!

Rachel @ Bakerita

Friday 10th of February 2012

I loveeee farro, but I've never actually used it in home cooking! This looks absolutely amazing. Can't wait to try this.

Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche

Monday 23rd of January 2012

This looks a delicious salad. I love the Medditerranean flavors!Wonderful!


Tuesday 17th of January 2012

Don't malign butter! We NEED good fats like butter and avocado and coconut ... the real culprits here are the flours, sugars and carbs.


Tuesday 17th of January 2012

No one's maligning butter (and if you noticed, I also just did a post on making your own homemade cultured butter - I took the time to make the butter, photograph the butter, and then write about the butter, so clearly, I'm a fan). We need healthy fats like olive oil, avocados (I won't go so far as to lump dairy butter into the "healthy fat" category), but in moderation.

Even assuming health benefits from butter, there's a huge nutritional difference between a recipe containing a stick of butter (8 tablespoons), and 2 tablespoons of butter.

A dish that contains 8 tablespoons of butter and yields 6 servings means that 1 serving contains 1.33 tablespoons of butter and has 41mg of cholesterol and 9.72g of saturated fat (a full 48% of the recommended daily allowance of 20g (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) ... in one meal).

A dish that contains 2 tablespoons of butter and yields 6 servings means that 1 serving contains .33 tablespoons of butter and has 10mg of cholesterol and 2.431g of saturated fat (12% of the recommended daily allowance).

Butter has 7g saturated fat and 31mg cholesterol per tablespoon.

Olive oil has just under 2g of saturated fat (no cholesterol); canola oil has 1g (no cholesterol). Avocado oil has 1g saturated fat. Avocado (1 entire fruit) has 3g saturated fat (no cholesterol).

(saturated fat data from

And as for the carbs, white flours, processed sugars and other simple carbs do, indeed, tend to show adverse health affects. But not all flours and carbs are bad. Whole grains, vegetables natural sugars (in moderation, of course) and other complex carbs seem to land more on the healthy side (so, we're talking white bread vs. whole grain bread, packaged cereals vs. oatmeal, orange drink (with HFCS) vs. an orange).

I'm not going to give up a white flour and buttercream frosted cake on my birthday, but I'm also not going to be eating 3 slices in one sitting, nor eating cake everyday.

Moderation. :)


Friday 13th of January 2012

I haven't really tried farro but this looks delicious.