If you’re looking for an easy side dish for a special occasion or simply a fall salad to enjoy with Sunday supper, this fall farro salad is just the thing! It combines hearty farro, sautéed kale, crisp apple, salty feta and savoury beet for one flavourful bite!
I love a good salad any time of year and I especially love to play with produce of the season. Cold weather veggies, like kale, grow wonderfully here in Newfoundland.
My parents actually grow kale in their garden so I had to nab some
They were happy to share! They were overflowing with the stuff. Other delicious in-season fall goodies are beets and apples so I used them here. This fall harvest salad turned out lovely and it’s now on repeat on our home.
To make this recipe, simply get your farro going first. Then, roast beets, gently cook kale and prep the other ingredients and vinaigrette.
After that, it’s simply a matter of tossing everything together and digging in. Easy!
Ingredients for Fall Farro Salad
- Farro (of course)
- Beets (get pre-cooked beets to save time, if you like)
- Apple for a little sweetness
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs
What is Farro?
Farro is an ancient grain that tastes kinda nutty, a little chewy and totally delicious! So, if after cooking, the farro still has a little chew, that’s totally normal; it’s supposed to be that way!
Farro is also super hearty. It’s so hearty, that it’s very difficult to overcook, which is one of the reasons it works wonderfully in salads, soups, skillets and casseroles.
You can buy various versions of farro, either pearled, semi-pearled or whole.
All vary somewhat in flavour and cook time (with the ‘whole’ variety having the nuttiest taste and longest cook time).
Whole farro is what I used in this fall farro salad. If you use another variety, you will have to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
How to Roast Beets
There are a few ways that you could prepare beets for roasting:
- If using whole, raw beets: Remove green tops from beets. Wash and scrub clean the beets, loosely wrap in aluminum foil, place onto a baking sheet (to catch any juices) and bake in a 375 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 75 minutes or so until tender when prodded with a fork or knife (the time may vary slightly depending on the size of your beets.
Note: Because cook time can vary, depending on beet size, check on them at the 45 minute mark to see how they’re doing.
Carefully remove aluminum foil (there will be steam). Allow to cool a little until you can handle them. Then, peel and proceed with whatever recipe you’re using them in.
- If using cut up, raw beets: Remove green tops from beets. Wash and scrub clean whole beets, peel, cut into roughly 1-inch slices or chunks, then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and spices (if using). Bake on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan for about 40 to 45 minutes (or until tender), turning halfway.
- If using pre-cooked beets (as I did in this farro salad): I used whole, peeled and pre-cooked beets. Even though the beets were pre-cooked, for this farro salad, I did toss with olive oil and some salt and pepper and roasted for a bit just to get a little caramelization.
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How to Prepare Kale
Like mentioned, for this farro salad, I also sautéed a little kale. I washed thoroughly and then cut out the centre rib. You want to get rid of that rib.
It’s not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s just tough and takes longer to cook than the leaves themselves. Just cut it out and thinly slice the leaves into bite-sized pieces or ribbons.
I simply cooked the kale in a little olive oil for a few minutes until it softened a little.
Kale adds a lovely heartiness and tends to have a little more mouthfeel and texture than, say, spinach. Keep in mind that when you are using kale in recipes, you want bite-sized pieces. You don’t want big leaves of kale in this salad.
Can I Use Another Green Instead of Kale?
Absolutely! If you’d rather, sub with baby spinach or arugula.
Keep in mind that they may wilt a little more than what kale would, but it will still taste delicious!
More Recipe Tips and Variations
As mentioned above, I used pre-cooked beets in this recipe. If you are using raw, they will take longer to prepare.
I used ‘whole’ farro here so my cooking time was about 30 to 40 minutes or so. If you use ‘pre-cooked’ farro (or another variety), cooking time will be reduced considerably.
Though I didn’t use them here, walnuts would make a lovely addition in this farro salad.
Want to use something aside from apples? Diced pear would work great too.
More Fall Recipes
Hope you love this easy autumn recipe as much as we do!
If you make this fall farro salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Fall Farro Salad (with beet, kale, apple and feta)
- 1 cup 'whole' farro
- 1 pound cooked beets , cut into bite-sized chunks
- 3 to 4 cups chopped kale (bite-sized pieces, leaves only, no stems)
- 1.5 cups diced apple (about 1 to 2 apples, depending on their size)
- ¾ cup feta cheese , cut into small cubes (opt for a vegetarian or vegan variety, if needed, to keep things vegetarian or vegan)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon minced chives
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Rinse and drain farro with cold water through a fine mesh sieve. Then, cook per package instructions and cool slightly (typically for one cup of farro, use 3 cups or so of water (or broth) place into a saucepan with a pinch of salt, bring to simmer on medium low, cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. If there is any excess water after cooking simply drain. Fluff farro with a fork. You can add a little butter at this point too (totally optional).Note: I used 'whole' farro (which has the longest cooking time). If you use another variety, your cooking time will be reduced. You can always cook per package instructions, should you wish.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, prepare beets for roasting. In a bowl, toss beets with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper.
- Spread cubes of beets onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven and let cool. Note: See body of post above for type of beets being used. I used 'pre-cooked' beets so my cooking time was reduced.
- Heat remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to wilt, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place all ingredients into a bowl (along with dressing) and stir to combine. Enjoy!
- Place all ingredients into a small jar, cover, shake to combine and pour over salad.
- As mentioned above, I used pre-cooked beets in this recipe. If you are using raw, they will take longer to prepare.
- As the salad sits, the colour of the beets may bleed into other ingredients, particularly the feta. Not a big deal, though.
- I used ‘whole’ farro here so my cooking time was about 30 to 40 minutes or so. If you use ‘pre-cooked’ farro (or another variety), cooking time will be reduced considerably.
Nutrition (ESTIMATE ONLY)
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 Serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.