Why This Recipe Works
- Using both cooked and raw asparagus adds a variety of textures and flavors to the salad.
- Letting the dressed farro stand for a few minutes before serving allows it to absorb more flavor.
The arrival of spring is always a welcome event, but after this year's particularly harsh winter, warmer weather—and all the great produce that it brings—can't come soon enough. For that reason, I thought it was appropriate to make a dish that has a foot in each season, acknowledging the chill that's still in the air while also celebrating the new weather ahead. My solution: a warm grain salad with hearty, nutty farro and sturdy ribbons of kale, along with tender, sweet peas and perky fresh asparagus.
Making farro is pretty foolproof. I find that it comes out best when I add plenty of salt to the cooking liquid, which helps season the grains throughout. Otherwise, it's just a matter of boiling it until it's plump and tender. To prepare the asparagus, I quickly brown some of it to coax out a little extra flavor, and leave the rest raw for a pop of freshness. Once the farro is cooked, I stir in the peas and kale while it's still warm, so that they'll cook in its residual heat. To finish, I toss it in a tangy Dijon vinaigrette, along with with some almonds and feta, for both crunch and creaminess.
This is an easy salad to vary depending on whichever greens look good at the market. Even though I'm a huge fan of kale, I have to admit that it would be delicious with things like spinach or arugula—just remember that more tender greens should be added at the last minute to avoid over-wilting from the farro's heat.
Warm Farro Salad With Asparagus, Peas, and Feta Recipe
This salad celebrates the transition from winter to spring by combining asparagus, snap peas, kale, and farro with a tangy vinaigrette, briny feta, and almonds.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 1/4 cups), divided
Pinch dried red chile flakes, or more as desired
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro
1 quart homemade vegetable stock or low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 bunch kale, trimmed, washed, and cut into 2-inch ribbons (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup slivered almonds
4 scallions thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan until shimmering. Add 2 cups of asparagus and chile flakes, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In the same saucepan, add the farro and stock and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and cook until farro is tender, about 30 minutes; add water if necessary to keep farro covered. Drain farro and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in peas and kale and let stand until peas are tender and kale is wilted.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil along with the lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Fold vinaigrette into farro, add the cooked asparagus, almonds, scallions, feta, and remaining 1/4 cup raw asparagus. Let stand 5 minutes, then toss and serve.
Make-Ahead and Storage
You can refrigerate the salad overnight and serve it chilled the next day.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 31g||40%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||37%|
|Total Carbohydrate 37g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||30%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 38mg||192%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|