Farro Salad with Dates and Pomegranate Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

Farro seems to be everywhere these days, from veggie burgers to soups and salads. It's a trendy food, if by "trendy" I'm referring to the fact that it came onto the scene approximately 8000 years before the Ancient Olympic Games. While I had never made a dish with farro prior to this recipe (and didn't know exactly what it was), I've eaten it more times than I can count at Huckleberry in Santa Monica. Know what you eat...or don't.

A couple of weeks ago I tried the latest version of Huckleberry's farro salad and loved how the chef combined sweet dates with a vinegar-based dressing. I made a mental note of the flavors and finally got around to experimenting with my own creation. And though I'm no expert, I do have some thoughts on how to cook farro.


The individual ingredients can be prepared a day ahead (stored separately), but the texture of farro is best the day it's made.

Speaking of farro, here are my findings and tips:

  • Moisture and Mushiness - My experience is that farro doesn't absorb all of the cooking water like rice does (I think that's how it's supposed to work, but can't say for sure). The challenge is that the farro is still relatively wet even after being drained. Since the pomegranate vinaigrette adds moisture, I decided to transfer my drained farro back to the dry pot in order to cook off any excess liquid. This is similar to how you handle potatoes post-boil and pre-mashing. (And if you don't do your mashers that way you should.) Over medium heat, stir the farro with a wooden spoon until it's still glossy but not "wet". This takes about 6-9 minutes but may take longer if you're making a big batch.
  • Types - There are different kinds of farro (similar to how there are different kinds of oats), but the whole grain (or unpearled) is the way to go in my humble opinion. It takes longer to cook but has a fantastic texture. If the bag doesn't specify the type then go by time - if it takes 50+ minutes to cook it's unpearled. NPR wrote a bit more on the topic here.
  • Storage - To avoid condensation, let the farro cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.
  • Prep - Some websites suggest soaking the farro before cooking but I didn't do that and it turned out great. I did rinse the farro though.
  • Cooking Time - My farro took about 50 minutes. Since texture is a matter of taste, I recommend sampling the doneness about 3/4 of the way through the brand's recommended cooking time.


Leeks at Rutiz Farms, Santa Monica Farmers Market



  • 2 cups cooked farro Note: See farro tips above under "Recipe". A soggy farro is a sad farro.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Melted Leeks
  • 1/4 cup roasted carrots, chopped Note: I halve or quarter my carrots lengthwise depending on the size, toss them in olive oil/salt/pepper, and then roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil and then parchment paper helps with cleanup.
  • 1/4 cup dates, pitted, chopped Note: I use Empress dates rather than Medjool since I find the latter are too sweet.
  • 2 tbsp Pomegranate Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Walnuts, broken up by hand
  • 1/4 tsp freshly minced thyme or herb of choice

Pomegranate Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp pomegranate vinegar Note: I use Dry Creek Olive Company's vinegar and it can be ordered here.
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tbsp quality olive oil Note: Most dressing recipes call for a 1:3 ratio of acid and fat but I find the flavor is a bit dull for most of my dishes.
  • Kosher or flake-style salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Pomegranate Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Whisk together the pomegranate vinegar, honey, mustard, a couple cranks of pepper, and a baby pinch of salt
  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil, vigorously whisking as you go Note: If you want a dressing that doesn't separate in the refrigerator (i.e. it stays emulsified for at least a night), be sure to take your time when pouring in the olive oil.


  • Mince your fresh herb of choice
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and gently toss.

Serving Suggestions

I had some Humboldt Fog goat cheese in the fridge and decided to sprinkle a little on the farro salad. Goes together nicely.


The fully prepared farro salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a night, but after that it goes downhill pretty quickly in terms of flavor. If possible I recommend tossing everything the day you want to eat it.

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