Harvest Farro Salad with a homemade roasted garlic dressing is my favorite fall salad. And it’s packed with nutrients and tons of flavor, too! Served with warm butternut squash and Brussels sprouts, it’s the perfect fall weeknight dinner or quick side dish for chicken, pork, or salmon.
We’ve recently added more farro to our diets, and this Harvest Farro Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing to the weekly meal plan from October through March. This light fall salad is perfect for a meal or a great side dish to serve with roast chicken, maple braised pork chops, or herb crusted salmon.
I first made this salad over a year ago when we had my mom and brother for dinner one night. And let me tell you what a hit it was! First off, my brother had never eaten farro before and he couldn’t stop raving about how much he loved the salad.
And my mom? Well let’s just say that she has been impatiently waiting for me to write up this recipe since that night that she flipped for it. I kid you not, she’s asked me no less than 15 times in the past year for the recipe.
What is Farro?
Farro is an ancient whole grain from the Middle East. It’s very common in both Middle Eastern and Italian recipes but has slowly made a resurgence alongside other ancient grains like quinoa, bulgar wheat, barley, and rye.
Farro is packed with fiber, protein, Vitamin B3, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
There are three types of farro — whole, semi-pearled, and pearled. I recommend semi-pearled when making farro salad since it cooks the fastest. Pearled is the most processed and has the least amount nutrients. Whole farro is still in the husk and takes longer to cook, but it does have the strongest farro flavor and the most nutrients remaining after cooking.
Semi-pearled farro has no husk and the bran has been partially polished away. Each type has its own cook time, but semi-pearled farro takes about 15 to 25 minutes to cook. Pearled takes less and whole takes longer. The best way to judge is when the farro has absorbed all the water but is still a bit chewy.
Here’s the basic grocery list for this fall salad recipe with a roasted garlic dressing. For the full farro salad ingredient list, see the recipe card below!
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Lime juice — fresh if you have it!
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Vegetable broth
- Dried cranberries — you can also swap these for cherries
- Candied pecans
How to Make Farro Salad
The full Harvest Farro Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing instruction list is in the recipe card below, but here you’ll find tips and tricks on how to roast garlic and how to cook farro for every time you make this amazing fall salad!
- First, roast the garlic for this amazing homemade dressing. Skip the peeling and slice off the top half-inch of the whole head still in the papery skins.
- Toss the top and put the garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil with the cut end facing up and smother it with olive oil. You want the oil all over the outside and into the paper skins with the garlic cloves. Close the pouch by the corners.
- Then, roast the foil pouch until the garlic is soft and deep golden brown. If it starts to dry out, add more olive oil.
- Once roasted, allow the garlic to cool until you can handle it before squeezing the garlic out of the skins. The roasted garlic can be make up to a week in advance.
- To make the dressing, mix the roasted garlic, cloves, vinegar, mustard, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. While it blends, add some olive oil until it’s smooth and creamy.
- For the rest of the salad, roast your butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. I usually do this while the garlic roasts.
- If you don’t know how to cook farro: Rinse the grains for about a minute under cold water and drain. Melt some butter in a pan and sauté the farro for a couple minutes before adding vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer until all the liquid has absorbed but the farro is still slightly chewy, kind of like brown rice. Let the farro cool, but keep your roasted veggies warm.
- To assemble the salad, put the farro in a large serving bowl and top it with warm squash and sprouts as well as dried cranberries and candied pecans. Nestle the apple slices into the salad. You can mix the salad with the dressing or serve on the side. If mixing with dressing, save some cranberry and pecan garnishes for serving.
What we Loved about this Recipe
I’m a huge fan of farro, so this harvest farro salad was an easy win for me. Adding 2 of my favorite roasted vegetables to a batch of nutty farro was kind of a no-brainer in my world of warm salads but it was the roasted garlic dressing that tied the whole salad together and made this an unforgettable meal.
I can’t believe that I’d never thought to make roasted garlic dressing before and it’s safe to say that this dressing has been on repeat since that first time. It was so simple to make and that deep, caramelized garlic flavor powers this dressing like fresh garlic isn’t able to do in a dressing.
Other Amazing Farro Dishes
Grains are a great budget ingredient that can fill out any dish and make it a meal! I love farro because it’s got so many nutrients and a nutty taste.
I find myself using farro in all kinds of salads and I’ve even adapted this Sweet and Salty Fall Harvest Salad with roasted butternut squash, brie, apples, candied pecans, and an amazing maple vinaigrette into a farro salad by mixing the warm farro with baby kale. It’s amazing!
I’ve added a few vegan recipes to my repertoire in the last few years, including this light but filling Kale, White Bean, and Farro Salad with a lemon-tahini vinaigrette that’s a great weeknight meal or potluck side dish.
For a warm and cozy dish, swap the meat for farro and mushrooms in this Mushroom Marsala Farro Bake! It’s a great vegetarian spin on an Italian classic.
I love one-pan meals because who wants to do dishes all night? This One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes is a hearty meatless meal that can stand completely on its own!
What to Serve with Harvest Farro Salad
As soon as the leaves start changing, I tend to go into soup-making mode. They’re perfect to pair with a farro salad!
This Sweet Potato and Roasted Apple Soup with Maple Croutons is the ultimate fall soup! Sweet potatoes, apples, and maple syrup — what more could you ask for from a warm and spicy cold weather soup?
Butternut squash is the best winter soup, and this Curried Butternut Squash Soup is a delicious twist on the original. The curry gives it an elevated flavor alongside cinnamon and ginger.
If you love a slow cooker as much as I do, this Crockpot Loaded Baked Potato Soup is super simple but so comforting after a long day at work.
For the roasted garlic dressing:
- 1 head garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 12 oz Brussels sprouts, quartered
- ½ butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 3 cups)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups uncooked farro (semi-pearled or perlato)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 ¾ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
- ½ cup candied pecans
- To make the roasted garlic: Preheat oven to 425° F. Slice off the top ½-inch of the head of garlic so that the tops of the garlic cloves (still in the papery skins) are exposed. Discard the top and place the remaining head of garlic on a 10-inch long piece of aluminum foil with the sliced cloves pointed up. Drizzle the garlic liberally with olive oil. The oil should wiggle its way down between the cloves, over the sides, and pool a little on the foil. Pull the 4 corners of foil up to the top of the garlic and create a sealed foil pocket with the garlic inside.
- Place the foil pocket on the middle rack of the oven and roast the garlic for 45 minutes. Carefully peel the foil pocket open from the top and peek inside. If the garlic is deep golden brown, it is finished. If not, close up the pocket and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and deep golden brown. If the garlic looks dry at the first check, drizzle some more oil over the top of the cloves.
- Remove the pocket from the oven, carefully open it up, and allow the garlic to cool until you can safely handle it. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. For this recipe, you'll need 8 cloves. Store the remaining cloves in an airtight bowl in the fridge for another use; they will keep for up to 1 week.
- To make the dressing: Combine the 8 roasted garlic cloves, vinegar, mustard, honey, lime juice, and a good pinch of salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth. With the processor running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube and blend until the dressing is fully combined. Transfer to a small jar and store in the fridge until ready to serve or up to 1 week.
- To make and assemble the salad: While the garlic roasts, spread the squash out on one half of a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the sprouts to the empty half of the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes and stir up squash and sprouts to promote even browning. Continue roasting for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown and cooked through.
- While the vegetables roast, make the farro. Rinse the farro for about 1 minute under cold water; drain very well. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the farro and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Off the heat, pour in the vegetable broth. Return the saucepan to the heat and stir in a heavy pinch of salt and about ½ teaspoon of pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the broth boils, stir the farro, cover, lower the heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes. The farro will be done when all the liquid has absorbed and the farro is just slightly chewy. Allow the farro to cool for 10 minutes before assembling the salad.
- Transfer the farro to a large, wide serving bowl. Top with the warm squash and Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries/cherries, and candied pecans. Nestled the apple slices into the salad. Serve with the roasted garlic dressing.
dressing adapted from Bobby Flay