Fall Farro Salad

With the busy holidays around the corner, my preference is tried-and-true recipes that deliver lots of flavor and come together quickly.

From a weeknight staple to elegant entertaining, this colorful Fall Farro Salad is ideal for any gathering.

Chewy farro, savory roasted vegetables, and a creamy maple tahini dressing create the perfect balance of flavors in this colorful and festive grain salad.

Every bite is complex, with fresh parsley, nutty hazelnuts, sweet dried cranberries, and salty feta cheese. You’ll keep coming back for one more bite – it is sure to be a crowd-favorite.

While this farro salad is ideal for the cozy fall and winter months ahead, it can be adapted in various ways to enjoy all year long.

Brussels sprouts and Tricolor Carrots on Sheet Pan

Why You’ll Love This Farro Salad:

  • Festive: With sweet dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, and warming root vegetables, this farro salad makes a excellent addition to your Thanksgiving or holiday table. Ideal for potlucks, it can be prepped ahead, served both warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled from the fridge.
  • Wholesome: With all of the rich foods that come with the holidays, this grain salad offers a welcome respite and packs a nutritional punch. It is packed with texture, similarly to this fall harvest salad, but with the addition of hearty farro and roasted autumn vegetables.
  • Balanced: The flavors in this grain salad are irresistible. It’s sweet, salty, creamy, and tangy. You will crave it throughout the colder months ahead.
  • Versatile: The recipe is highly adaptable. The grain, vegetables, and toppings can be swapped for what you have on hand. While this is a wonderful base, take liberties to make it your own! See our swap and substitution ideas below.
Fall Farro Salad Ingredients
roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Farro  this ancient whole grain has a nutty flavor and chewy texture that makes it ideal for grain salads. It’s hearty texture holds up well to the creamy dressing and hearty roasted vegetables. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill brand.
  • Brussels Sprouts– a quintessential vegetable for any holiday table, I love roasting Brussels sprouts this time of year. If you enjoy this dish, be sure to make this crowd-favorite Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash side.
  • Tri-Colored Carrots – rainbow carrots are so festive around the holidays with their bright harvest colors. If you can’t find them, use regular orange carrots. The flavor difference is subtle.
  • Maple Tahini Dressing – made from ground, pressed sesame seeds, tahini paste has a rich, savory, and slightly bitter flavor. Maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness and pairs beautifully with the other ingredients. For tahini paste, I recommend Soom brand. 
  • Flat Leaf Parsley – for freshness and color! Baby arugula would also be lovely.
  • Dried Cranberries – a tangy, sweet, festive bite. Feel free to swap out the cranberries for dried cherries, apricots, figs, or even dates.
  • Hazelnuts – warm and nutty in flavor, toasted hazelnuts add great texture.
  • Feta – briny feta cheese adds a delicious, salty tang.
Brussels sprout halves and sliced Carrots on Sheet Pan

How to Make Fall Farro Salad

See recipe box below for full instructions.

  1. Roast the Brussels sprouts and carrots on a half sheet pan. Drizzle with extra olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss until evenly coated. Distribute into an even layer, flipping them cut-side down. Flip halfway through, until they are caramelized and just fork tender, roughly 20 to 25 minutes.
Brussels sprouts and Carrots on Sheet Pan
  1. Cook the farro while the vegetables roast. It should be tender and cooked through, but still maintain its signature chewy texture.
Cooked Farro in Bowl
  1. Make the maple tahini dressing by combining the tahini paste, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, pure maple syrup, salt, and black pepper. If too thick, whisk in 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until the creamy, yet pourable.
  1. Assemble the salad by mixing the cooked farro and roasted vegetables. Add the tahini dressing and toss gently to evenly coat. Mix in the dried cranberries, hazelnuts, and fresh parsley. Top with crumbled feta cheese and serve.
Fall Farro Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing in Bowl

Make Ahead Instructions:

Serving this dish for a busy holiday, such as Thanksgiving? This farro salad can be prepped ahead in numerous ways.

  • Cook the farro, allow to cool, and store in a covered container the fridge up to 2 to 3 days in advance; bring to room temperature before tossing with the warm roasted vegetables.
  • The vegetables can be roasted several hours ahead or the day before, if needed. Allow to cool, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate.
  • The maple tahini dressing can be made 4 to 5 days ahead. Store in a covered container and let come to room temperature before serving. It will thicken considerably once chilled. If too thick, whisk in water to loosen to desired consistency. Season to taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Prep the toppings – parsley, dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, and feta cheese – 1 to 2 days ahead and store in separate small containers in the refrigerator.
Fall Farro Salad

Swap + Substitution Ideas

Make this recipe your own with these easy swaps! Mix and match to what you have on hand and what you’re craving. The options are endless!

  • FARRO: Quinoa or wild rice are great gluten-free swaps.
  • BRUSSEL SPROUTS: Broccoli or cauliflower.
  • TRI-COLORED CARROTS: Butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
  • PARSLEY: Arugula or a mix of fresh herbs, such as chervil, chives, or fresh mint.
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES: Dried cherries, apricots, figs, or chopped dates.
  • FETA: Goat cheese or crumbled gorgonzola.
  • HAZELNUTS: Walnuts, almonds, pecans, or pistachios. Or, skip the nuts and learn how to make garlic chips for an alternate source of texture.
  • DRESSING: Swap out the tahini dressing for a large batch of this Dijon vinaigrette.
Fall Farro Salad on Platter
Fall Farro Salad on Platter

Fall Farro Salad

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Hearty and chewy farro grains are combined with roasted Brussels sprouts, tri-color carrots, and a creamy maple tahini dressing. Finished with fresh parsley, toasted chopped hazelnuts, dried cranberries, and briny feta cheese, this elegant and festive fall farro salad is an ideal addition to any holiday spread, but can be enjoyed all year long.
It also pairs beautifully with roasted chicken or salmon, but is equally delicious served and enjoyed on its own. See our make-ahead tips and ingredient substitution ideas in the note section for more ideas.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (16 oz) Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved (ideally 1½-inch in diameter)
  • ¾ lb (12 oz) tri-colored carrots, small-to-medium in size scrubbed and cut on a bias into ½-inch-thick slices (about 6 carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons (45ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (180g) uncooked farro rinsed and drained (or 2½ to 3 cups cooked farro)

Maple Tahini Dressing (Yields ⅔ cup; 160 ml):

  • ¼ cup (65g) tahini paste
  • ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice plus more to taste (roughly 1 juicy lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper

For Tossing and Topping:

  • small bunch flat leaf parsley leaves roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup (70g) hazelnuts toasted (see notes)
  • cup (45g) dried cranberries soaked in hot water and drained (see notes)
  • ounces (70g) feta cheese crumbled

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the center position. To cook the farro, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  • Roast the Vegetables: Combine the Brussels sprout halves and sliced carrots onto a half sheet pan – they will shrink in size during roasting. Drizzle with the extra virgin oil olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Distribute the vegetables into an even, single layer on the sheet pan – setting the Brussels sprout halves and carrots cut-side down. This will allow them to caramelize more evenly. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes, or until caramelized and fork tender.
    Note: Avoid over-crowding the vegetables. If you are scaling this recipe up or using more vegetables, you'll need to use two half sheet pans. Use the bottom and top third oven rack, rotating the pans halfway through roasting.
    Brussels sprouts and Carrots on Sheet Pan
  • Cook the Farro: While the vegetables are roasting, add the farro to the boiling water. Reduce heat to medium and cook according to the package instructions until the grains are tender, but still maintain a bit of chew. Drain well and spread onto a rimmed sheet pan to cool. Note: For a festive and fragrant twist, try replacing one cup of cooking water with apple cider.
    Cooked Farro in Bowl
  • In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, combine the tahini, olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, whisking continuously. If the dressing is too thick to drizzle, whisk in a touch more water. Season to taste, adding more salt or lemon juice as needed. Set aside.
    Maple Tahini Dressing in Bowl
  • Assemble the Salad: Combine the cooked farro and roasted vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add tahini dressing (reserving a small portion for drizzling and serving on the side) to taste, tossing until evenly coated. Add the chopped parsley, hazelnuts and cranberries (reserving a small portion of each for garnishing). Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding a squeeze of lemon juice if needed.
  • Transfer to a large platter for serving. Top with the crumbled feta. Garnish with any remaining parsley, hazelnuts, and cranberries, and an additional drizzle of tahini dressing, as desired.
    Fall Farro Salad
  • Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

How to Toast Hazelnuts: 

  • Once the Brussels sprouts and carrots have roasted, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C). Spread the hazelnuts into a single layer on a small sheet pan. Toast for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool completely. 
  • Alternatively, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the whole hazelnuts and toast, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to cool for chopping.

How to Soak Cranberries: 

  • To plump the cranberries, place them in a small bowl and cover with very hot or boiling water. Soak for 5 minutes; drain and use as directed.

Make Ahead Instructions: 

  • Serving this dish for a busy holiday, such as Thanksgiving? This farro salad can be prepped ahead in numerous ways. Cook the farro, allow to cool, and store in a covered container the fridge up to 2 to 3 days in advance; bring to room temperature before tossing with the warm roasted vegetables.
  • The vegetables can be roasted several hours ahead or the day before, if needed. Allow to cool, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate.
  • The maple tahini dressing can be made 4 to 5 days ahead. Store in a covered container and let come to room temperature before serving. It will thicken considerably once chilled. If too thick, whisk in water to loosen to desired consistency. Season to taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Prep the various toppings – parsley, dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, and feta cheese – 1 to 2 days ahead. Store in separate small containers in the refrigerator.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 525kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 492mg, Potassium: 723mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 10110IU, Vitamin C: 71mg, Calcium: 150mg, Iron: 3mg