This easy-to-make fall farro salad features chewy grains, sauteed carrots, white beans, and cranberries. Comes together quickly – in just one bowl.
Since I don’t cook turkey anymore, I’ve become a big fan of whole grains as part of the Thanksgiving meal. They’re not meant to replace turkey, per se, but something chewy-textured in a plant-based feast is a must and grains fit the bill perfectly.
Enter this fall farro salad, which I designed specifically for T-giving. It has the familiar flavors we’ve come to expect – cranberries, root vegetables – in an easy grain salad format. What I love about this concept is it comes together in one bowl, can be made in advance, and doesn’t require any special equipment. Win, win, win!
I do have another farro salad I usually love for the occasion, but it’s more labor-intensive – i.e. you have to use the oven and pull out the food processor for a homemade pesto. So, I decided to create an alternative. Let’s jump in!
What’s In This Dish
This vegan fall farro salad consists of chewy grains, sauteed carrots, crunchy raw celery, creamy white beans, roasted almonds, dried cranberries, and parsley. It’s dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice.
Why It Works
It’s balanced! The contrast of chewy, soft, and crunchy textures, and of sweet cranberries and sour lemon, makes it super satisfying to eat. Plus, it has a ton of protein, complex carbs, and vegetables.
No special equipment required. No need to bust out a food processor or blender here! All you need is a pot, a skillet, and a mixing bowl.
Delicious warm or at room temp. This fall farro salad is perfect for Thanksgiving feasts of all kinds (including potlucks!) because it can sit out at room temp for an hour or two without getting weird.
How to Make This Fall Farro Salad
Cook the Farro: Start by boiling water for the farro (it cooks just like rice). Salt the boiling water, add the grains, cover with a lid, and simmer til all the water is absorbed. Do not stir during cooking, or you’ll risk ending up with mushy, sticky grains.
Sauté the Carrots: Meanwhile, cut up the carrots. Saute them with olive oil and spices until they’re golden and softened, but still have a bit of a bite. This takes about 10 minutes.
Gather the Other Ingredients: While the farro and carrots are cooking, chop up the celery, shallot, and parsley, and place them in a big mixing bowl. Drain and rinse a can of white beans in a mesh strainer and add to the veg. The cranberries and almonds can go in, too.
Finish the Salad: Add the warm farro and carrots to the bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Note: It’s important that the farro is warm at this point so it can absorb the other flavors. Serve warm or at room temp.
Ingredients + Substitutions
- Farro: Comes in two forms – pearled and whole. Pearled has had its outermost layer polished away, which strips some of the nutrients but does help it cook faster. Whole farro takes about 15 minutes longer to cook than pearled. As a substitute, you can use wheatberries or barley.
- Carrots: Parsnips or sweet potatoes cut into a similar size to the carrots would work well here.
- Celery: If you’re not a fan, use finely diced fennel.
- Shallot: You can use red onion instead.
- Dried Cranberries: As substitutes, use raisins or dried currants. Alternately, use pomegranate seeds!
- Almonds: You can use slivered, sliced, or just roughly chopped almonds here. Make sure they’re roasted, though! Sub with pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts.
- Lemon Juice: If you don’t have fresh lemons around, use a mild vinegar (like apple cider or red wine).
Tips for Making This In Advance
If making this salad for a party or potluck, you can assemble it up to ~2 hours in advance and keep it at room temperature.
If you want to prep it a day or two in advance, cook the farro and carrots and combine them; combine all the other salad ingredients separately (except the almonds and dressing), too. Keep everything in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, warm up the farro-carrot mixture, then combine with the other ingredients, dress with oil and lemon juice, and toss in the almonds. (If you add the almonds too soon in advance, they’ll lose their crunch).
More holiday recipes…
- Whole Roasted Cabbage with Tomato-Mushroom Gravy
- White Bean Puree with Garlicky Mushrooms
- Roasted Cauliflower with Curried Tahini Sauce and Dates
- Balsamic Caramelized Onion Crostini
This vegan fall farro salad features chewy grains, sauteed carrots, white beans, and cranberries. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 cup farro
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 small/medium carrots (about 1/2 pound), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces on a diagonal *(see note)
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 small celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- One 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup roasted slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup farro and 1/4 teaspoon salt (do not stir). Cover tightly with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook until all the water is absorbed (~20 minutes for pearled farro and ~35 for whole farro). Turn the heat off and leave covered to steam for another 10 minutes without stirring.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, 3/4 teaspoon each garlic powder and smoked paprika, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 3 diced celery stalks, 1 diced shallot, 1/4 cup minced parsley, the beans, 1/4 cup cranberries, and 1/4 cup almonds.
- Add the farro and carrots to the bowl and season with 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and olive oil. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve warm or at room temp.
No need to peel the carrots if they’re organic.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
- Calories: 235
- Fat: 7.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.3 g
- Fiber: 7.4 g
- Protein: 8.2 g
Keywords: vegan, farro, salad, thanksgiving