Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad Recipe (2024)



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When discussing these notes and peoples' tribulations with farro cooking time my wife - something of a farro aficionado - pointed out that there are pearled and non-pearled versions available. Apparently the non-pearled takes twice as long to cook. Perhaps this is the source of confusion over cooking times?

I used pearled (without knowing the difference at the time) and it was perfect - a little nutty with a very slight crunch but perfectly edible - in 30 minutes using hard cider as liquid.


This is such a fantastic recipe, although as others noted, the salt added in to the farro is too much, especially once you put the salty parmesan on top. I roasted some sweet potato in chunks to add instead of the tomatoes to make a more autumn-y salad, I thought it was delicious and wished I had made more of the farro to make it last longer! The base easily lasted 5 days in my fridge and made for delicious lunches at the office.


This was good but with some adjustments:
Made this with Trader Joe's 10-minute farro so I used 1C apple cider and 1C water and only simmered for 15 minutes. I cut down on the olive oil and did NOT add salt. (The first time I made this the 2 tsp of salt overpowered everything and I had to throw the farro out.)


Cooked the first batch of farro with the amount of salt listed for the cooking liquid. It was way too salty--and I'm the person who eats the salt out of the bottom of the pretzel bag. So I threw that batch away and used just 1 scant tsp of salt. That worked well, and the cider adds a nice flavor to the farro.

Very tasty, and a pretty dish when it's done.


The recipe calls for apple cider, not apple cider vinegar! I imagine soaking farro in vinegar would make for a pretty nasty experience. LOL


Quick question for the editors: Does Charlie Bird use pearlized or non-pearlized farro in the original recipe? I have made this with both--and the result is dramatically different with pearlized farro. Thanks.


I don't normally write reviews, but I wanted to add that this salad was amazing, and one of the most popular dishes at Thanksgiving this year! I initially thought the combination of ingredients seemed weird/random, but they go together so well! I also added much less salt and only half the mint. Yummy!


I didn't see this coming. It sounded good, and reviews were exuberant, but it truly is delicious. Farrow is new to me, so nutty and tasty. Will be making again and again. I love this site. Have nearly abandoned my cookbooks....

Kathy P

I accidentally used apple cider vinegar. Loved it. Go easy on the salt. Red Mill farro is best. Great recipe. I make it regularly.

Mary S.

I have altered this recipe to get me through the winter by using winter vegetables such as parsnips and beets instead of arugula and other "spring" ingredients, adding chopped dates - all of which are lovely combinations with the pistachios

Thyra Porter

eight TB of olive oil? Great way to ruin a healthy salad. I'll bet it tastes good, but that is too much oil. You don't need it with the flavor that comes from cooking the farro in cider.

Curtis Hartman

Too salty, even with kosher salt, which is about 1/2 as salty as convetional table salt. Do not salt the dressing, and cut the salt in the cooking liquid in half. Other than that, this is a total winner.

Kaitlin Y.

Ok. So this is a little crazy, but the first time I made this, I misread "apple cider" to be "apple cider vinegar," which seems like it would have been a fatal error, but I have made this multiple times, and even though I know it should be made with apple cider, I can't not make it with apple cider vinegar. The end result is just so good. The vinegariness of the farro marries with the oil and lemon, so that it tastes like the dressing has seeped all the way in. Would recommend giving it a shot.


it is important re. the cooking time to know if you have pearled or non-pearled farro ! non-pearled will take twice as long....


Made it to the letter. It was good. I like the addition of the cider and bay leaf to the farro. The mint was nice too.
Try a version inspired by Outerlands in San Francisco which is arugula, farro, red and golden beets, parm, and a light champagne vinigarette.

Kathy P

I accidentally used apple cider vinegar the first time I made this. I loved it. I did make it once with apple cider. I like mine better. Gave the farro a nice tang.


I have been making this for years and when I opened up the recipe again this morning to review what I needed, I realized I have been making it wrong all along. I originally read it as one cup apple cider vinegar, not apple cider. I must admit the apple cider vinegar gives it a wonderful tangy flavor. I told my husband of this long-standing mistake and he said “please don’t change the recipe.” I have been making this for years and when I opened up the recipe again this morning to review what I ne


Ran out of olive oil, so I did 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 walnut oil. Sublime. And yes, the farro took an hour for me too.


Am I the first person to ask whether or not you need to cover the pot while you’re simmering the Farro?


This definitely does not make 6 servings if you're making it as an entree! Made 4 adult meals in our family. Agree that the salt could possibly be cut a bit in the farro. Because I used iodized table salt, I only used 1 tsp of salt. I don't recommend adding more maldon salt to finish. I added chickpeas for more protein and snap peas for crunch. The pistachios are obligatory! Oh my gosh, I just realized I used apple cider VINEGAR. it was still delicious.


I’ve made this dozens of times now and had many friends ask for the recipe. It’s spectacular and super adaptable to what you have on hand.

Mary Brown

I added a roasted kombucha squash to my salad, and it was delicious. I increased amounts by 50% and it was the veg entree/side at a lunch party. Even the meat eaters loved it. Making it again today for myself.

brooke in cali

I read MANY comments before cooking. Could only find apple cider vinegar, so used it. Used TJs 10 min farro. Poured in a bunch (maybe 1 1/2C) of the apple cider vinegar with the water for the farro and skipped the salt at this point. The farro came out delicious. I ended up adding some kosher salt in the end (I think the unsalted pistachios I used vs salted makes a diffwrence). It would be helpful if recipe specified a few more things. Also, photo shows parm on top but doesn’t mention in recipe


Always a hit with friends and family when I make this-never disappoints!

Salt added depends on pistachio selection

We LOVE this recipe. One thing - if you get roasted salted pistachios, then we like it best with reduced or do no salt in the dressing or the farro. Just titrate the salt in other places based on how salty the pistachios and parmasean are. And enjoy!


Made this recipe so many times and have done a number of substitutions depending on what’s in my cupboard: half cup of ACV instead of a full cup, Trader Joe’s 10min farro, lime instead of lemon, whatever tomatoes that I have in the fridge. Still good, but go with the original recipe and you will NOT be disappointed.


I realize there are 749 notes for this fabulous recipe and I have made this many times, but each time I wonder whether I should use raw or roasted pistachios? Thoughts?


Toasted nuts always have more flavor and crunch!


Is the farro to be rinsed before cooking? I only see “spiced” apple cider in stores. Is that correct here? Please advise ;)


Swap pistachios for toasted pine nuts


Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. Whenever I need to bring a salad to a pot luck this is my go to recipe. Leftovers are great the next day. And, you can swap out ingredients with good results. I've used apples in place of tomatoes and pecans instead of pistachios. I also make the dressing for a simple arugula salad.

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Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad Recipe (2024)


What is the ratio of farro to water? ›

Add water or broth in a 3 to 1 ratio of water to farro. Cover, cook on high 2 to 4 hours, until farro is soft and chewy. Drain if there is any leftover liquid (or add the cooking liquid to soup so the starches thicken it).

Is farro good or bad for you? ›

"Farro is a great source of fiber, iron, protein and magnesium. With all of those nutrients in this little grain, it can provide a lot of health benefits for your diabetes or for heart health or for brain health." Cook farro on the stovetop, in a slower cooker or in the oven. It doesn't expand as much as rice or pasta.

Is farro better for you than rice? ›

What is healthier to eat: farro or pasta or barley or rice? All grains have a place in a healthy diet. Farro and barley, being whole grains, contain more fiber and health benefits than white pasta or white rice.

What happens if you don't rinse farro? ›

Farro is sometimes covered in a dusty residue as a result of processing. To remove it (and any other unwanted debris that might be present), always rinse your farro under cool, running water in a fine-mesh strainer before cooking it.

How do you keep farro from getting mushy? ›

Drain, then spread onto a large plate or sheet pan to cool and dry for 20 minutes. This keeps it from continuing to steam which makes it mushy.

How much does 1 cup of farro make? ›

One cup of uncooked farro makes about 2.5 cups of cooked farro. As stated before, cooking farro is like pasta. When it is finished cooking, the extra water is drained away so there is not an exact ratio of water to farro used. However, I like to add at least 3 cups of water for 1 cup of farro.

What exactly is farro? ›

Farro /ˈfæroʊ/ refers to the grains of three wheat species, which are sold dried and cooked in water until soft. It is eaten plain or is often used as an ingredient in salads, soups, and other dishes.

What kind of food is farro? ›

What Is Farro? Imagine the taste of brown rice, only with a nuttier flavor and pleasantly chewier texture. This Italian-born grain dates back to ancient Rome. While it's sometimes confused with barley or spelt, farro has its own unique flavor and texture.

What plant is farro from? ›

True farro is Triticum dicoccum, an unhybridized wheatlike plant that has two spikes and is in the wheat family. But another plant, Triticum monococcum, also in the wheat family, is familiarly known as faricella, or ''little farro.

What is a farro? ›

Farro is an ancient grain, a form of wheat that's about 20,000 years old. With roots in Mesopotamia, farro is a staple of Mediterranean diets, especially in Italy. Farro is sold in whole grain form, and might be one of three varietals of ancient wheat: einkorn, emmer or spelt.

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