Spring Harvest Farro Salad Recipe

Asparagus may be the most spring-like of vegetables, thanks to a flavor that's as fresh and green as the season itself. As recipe developer Tanika Douglas tells us, "Asparagus is usually seen as a side, but in this recipe I wanted the asparagus to be the star of the show." She adds, "I've pan-grilled the asparagus to help emphasize its subtle flavor until it's perfectly tender."

While asparagus may be the star seasonal ingredient of the salad, it's valiantly supported by farro, something Douglas calls "a very versatile, nutritious grain that is often overlooked." Other ingredients include arugula, feta cheese, toasted walnuts, mint, parsley, and dried cranberries, elements that not only contribute to the flavor and texture of the salad but also bring it some color as well. As Douglas describes these additions, they "brighten up this hearty dish, making it the perfect spring salad." Tying everything together is a honey mustard vinaigrette dressing that she feels "pairs beautifully [with] the nutty farro and tender asparagus."

Gather the ingredients for the Spring harvest farro salad

Farro and arugula form the base of the salad, while asparagus tops everything off. In between, you'll find walnuts, mint, parsley, dried cranberries, and feta cheese, plus a dressing made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.

Douglas does say that if asparagus is not in season where you live, "both broccolini and zucchini would be brilliant alternatives." She also notes that the farro could be replaced by spelt or quinoa, with the latter making the salad gluten-free.

Cook the farro

First, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil, then add the farro. Cook the grain for 15 to 20 minutes at high heat, then drain it and let it cool.

Toast the walnuts

Toast the walnuts in a pan over low heat. Stirring every so often, cook the nuts for about 10 minutes. When they're done, they should be a little bit darker than previously, but be careful not to let them get too brown.

Chop the toasted nuts roughly, then reserve a couple tablespoons to use as a garnish.

Prepare the produce

Roughly chop the cranberries. Remove a few leaves from the mint and parsley to use as a garnish, then roughly chop the remaining leaves. Trim the ends off the asparagus, too.

Cook the asparagus

Pour a tablespoon of the oil into a pan, then heat it over a burner set to medium-high. If you have a ridged grill pan, go ahead and use that for those nice char marks, but if not, you can definitely use a frying pan instead. When the oil and pan are hot, sear the asparagus for 2 minutes on each side (4 minutes total cook time). The cooked asparagus should have some light charring.

Build and dress the salad

Mix the remaining oil with the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper, then toss the dressing with the farro, arugula, walnuts, mint, parsley, cranberries, and crumbled feta. Take the asparagus and arrange it over the salad, then use the reserved nuts and herbs as a garnish.

While this salad would make a great side dish for a meal of roast chicken or lamb, Douglas says she likes to serve it as a vegetarian main dish, calling it "satisfying, wholesome, and full of flavor." Thanks to the farro, cheese, and nuts, the salad actually has sufficient protein to stand on its own even without the addition of meat or tofu. It also makes surprisingly good leftovers, which is unusual for a salad. In fact, Douglas says "I love making the salad at the beginning of a busy week and taking leftovers for an easy, delicious lunch."

Spring Harvest Farro Salad Recipe
4.7 from 29 ratings
Arugula, grilled asparagus, and fresh herbs give this grain salad a vibrant hue and flavor perfect for spring.
Prep Time
Cook Time
salads with asparagus and farro
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 1 cup uncooked pearled farro
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup mint leaves, divided
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, divided
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups arugula, loosely packed
  • 8 ounces crumbled feta
  1. Bring a large pot full of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Cook the farro for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, then drain it.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a pan on the stove for 10 minutes at low heat, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly colored.
  4. Roughly chop the toasted walnuts, setting aside 2 tablespoons to use as a garnish.
  5. Reserve a few whole leaves of the mint and parsley. Roughly chop the rest.
  6. Roughly chop the cranberries.
  7. Trim the ends off the asparagus.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high, then cook the asparagus for 2 minutes on each side until lightly charred.
  9. Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons oil with the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to make the salad dressing.
  10. Toss the farro with the arugula, walnuts, mint, parsley, cranberries, feta, and dressing.
  11. Top the salad with the grilled asparagus and garnish it with the leftover chopped walnuts, parsley leaves, and mint leaves.
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