Farro salad with seasonal roasted root vegetables is a hearty and healthy dish. Tender beets, sweet potatoes, greens, and whole farro grains tossed in a fresh lemon garlic dressing.
A satisfying autumn-inspired healthy farro salad is just what you need to offset all the heavy calorie meals that appear this time of year. Some of the essential foods of Fall are root vegetables, and one of the best ways to prepare them is merely cooking in a super hot oven.
For this recipe, I like a combination of earthy yams, and red & golden beets. The roasting method enhances the flavor of the vegetables, making them tender with a hint of sweetness. One way to boost the nutritional benefits of these veggies is to toss them with fresh greens, farro, and lemon garlic dressing!
Farro is an ancient grain made from wheat. It’s not for those with a sensitivity to gluten. This recipe uses “pearled” farro , which has been processed to allow for a shorter cooking time, making it very convenient and a time friendly ingredient. If you purchase semi-pealed or whole farro, make sure to adjust for the longer cooking time and refer to the manufacturer’s directions.
Farro is easy to prepare on the stovetop, just simmer in water until tender, and it will have slightly chewy texture. This ingredient is also a source of fiber and iron.
Oh, beets. I wasn’t always fond of you, especially when I thought your existence merely came from opening up a can. I was about 12 years old when I tried my first “real” fresh bite from a garden roasted beet. I was apprehensive at first but was transitioning out of my young picky phase and willing to give it a try.
I was happily blown away by how tender and sweet beets could be, and I’ve been a big fan ever since! For this recipe, I chose to use a combination of red and golden beets because they have slightly different flavors, and I love the pop of colors in this farro salad and the phytonutrients they add.
Sweet potato is hands down my favorite tuber, supplying loads of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. These sweet potatoes are roasted with whole cloves of garlic which mellows out the sharp bite of raw garlic, creating a creamy paste when mashed, and a subtle sweetness in taste.
The earthiness of vegetables needs to be brightened up with a zesty herbaceous dressing. Roasted garlic adds a rich butter flavor and gets infused together with fresh lemon juice, chives, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
So what other goodies are this salad? It’s all about balancing different textures and tastes. There is sweet-tart dried cranberries, crunchy roasted almonds, and tender baby greens. Each vibrant forkful is nutrient packed and full of flavor.
This farro salad is one of those meals that is guilt free and wholesome! I’ve been adding these ancient grains to as many dishes that I can because it’s high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. My family enjoyed this salad with sliced pork tenderloin, or you could serve it with chicken for a satisfying meal.
What are the different ways to cook beets?
Depending on how much time you have or flavor and texture you desire, you can cook beets various ways. Slow roasting whole beets at 425°F for 45 to 60 minutes yield a fork-tender product that still needs peeling once cooled. To speed this up, you can peel and cut the beets into 1/2-inch cubes with oil, salt, and pepper like in this recipe at 425°F for 20 to 25 minutes. A little bit messier but much quicker. An even faster method is cutting the beets in 1-inch cubes and boiling them in salted simmering water for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Lastly, you can also steam 1/2-inch cubes for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. (Source: Martha Stewart)
- 1 pound sweet potato , or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
- 5 cloves garlic , peeled
- 1 pound beets , peeled and cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- kosher salt , as needed
- Pepper , freshly ground, as needed
- 1/2 cup pearled farro , uncooked
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups salad greens
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup lemon juice , plus zest
- 2 tablespoons honey , or pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chives , thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two small baking sheets with foil.
In a medium-sized bowl, toss sweet potatoes and garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Arrange onto one of the baking sheets in a single layer.
Add beets to the same bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the other baking sheet in one layer.
Roast vegetables, turning over once halfway through cooking, about 20 minutes until tender. Reserve roasted garlic in a small bowl.
Cook farro in a medium saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low, cook until tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
In a serving bowl add salad greens. Top with roasted sweet potatoes and beets, cranberries, and almonds.
Add roasted garlic, lemon juice, zest, and honey to a blender. Mix until smooth.
Slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup of olive oil into the blender while running until a smooth and slightly thickened dressing is formed. Taste and season with salt a pepper. Whisk in chives.
Add the lemon garlic dressing to the salad and toss.