During late spring and summer in Italy, we make farro salad because it is easy to prepare and feels cooling against the heat. This savory grain salad blends well with many ingredients from your garden or the outdoor produce market. Made in advance, Farro Salad with Peas and Mint is great for picnics, outdoor grill parties, and the beach!
Farro is an ancient unhybridized cereal grown for centuries in the Middle East and Mediterranean. It belongs to the same family as wheat Triticum Volgare and hard wheat Triticum Durum. Farro is different from wheat in how its husk attaches to its stalk, which is more similar to barley or oats than wheat. Farro is high in antioxidants, Vitamins A, B, C, and E, and can be a delicious alternative for anyone allergic or sensitive to hybridized wheat. Triticum Dicoccum is long-grain farro, also known as emmer, and is similar to hard wheat in character. Triticum Monococcum is medium-length grain, known as einkorn or sometimes incorrectly labeled as spelt. Triticum Spelta is spelt. These are similar to soft-wheat in character. When purchasing dried farro or Triticum Dicoccum, read the packaging carefully. Farro cooks faster than spelt. Different grains have different weights and volume, too.
4 servings as a salad, appetizer, or side dish.
2 cups (13 ounces or 370 g) dried farro
1 medium celery stalk, cut into large pieces
Fresh shelled peas, steamed or boiled
Fresh scallion, thinly sliced
Fresh mint leaves
Fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preparing the Farro: Put the farro in a colander. Rinse under cool running water to remove any debris. Transfer to a large bowl. Pour in enough cool water to cover the farro by 2 inches (5 cm), to allow the farro to expand. Soak the farro for 1 to 2 hours or until the grains absorb some water, soften, and swell by 1 1/2 times their original volume. This reduces cooking time. Drain.
2. Cooking the Farro: In a pot of lightly salted water, add the soaked farro and the celery stalk pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 25 minutes or until tender. (*Spelt will take up to twice as long to cook.) When finished cooking, the farro should be tender but slightly crunchy. Most grains split open showing a pearly white interior, similar to boiled pearl barley. Drain and cool.
3. Salad: Add the rest of the ingredients and toss. Season to taste, and toss again. Either serve within a few hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight or until ready to serve.