dinner salad: farro & greens cranberry crunch salad

farro & greens salad

For the past few weeks, I’ve been making a salad almost every day. Maybe it’s all in preparation for coming of spring, but I’ve got a serious hunger for greens. Usually, it’s just been a simple green salad with a garlicy vinaigrette or this french-style carrot salad that I’m a bit nutso for, but sometimes it’s a big dinner salad. Like this one.


This is one of those cleaning out the fridge salads where many components come together to make a united front. Since this was going to be dinner, I wanted it to be hearty. Farro is added for bulk and fiber and it’s pleasantly chewy texture really works here. There’s plenty of crunch found in the vegetables: romaine, celery, red pepper, red onion, broccoli, green beans – some raw, others very lightly steamed. I always lightly steam broccoli for salads, that is, unless I’m making this all-time favorite or this one. And of course, more crunch found can be found in the toasted pecans and there’s lovely sweetness from the dried cranberries.

The whole shebang is tossed in a vinaigrette but if I had buttermilk, I would have added that to the dressing for some creaminess and tang. I’m sure other vegetables could be added or taken away, based on availability or personal preference.

farro & greens cranberry salad

elsewhere: I have to share my fantastic new baking soda cleaning discovery and I write all about it over at ReadyMade. Baking soda plus vinegar & dish soap to clean my dirty, dirty oven. For reals. Find out all about it. Also, at Poppytalk this past week, I made some pretty kick ass grain-veggie burgers. Get the recipe.

24 comments to “dinner salad: farro & greens cranberry crunch salad”

  1. 1
    Suzy   March 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I do love a good monster salad. I haven’t had any for about a week (tummy bug) but I think I will have an enormous one for lunch tomorrow, one that takes me an hour to eat and that I can’t even fit onto a regular plate but have to eat directly out of the salad bowl.
    Pecans are very dear in europe so I will go for walnuts instead.

  2. 2
    Brittany   March 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Talk about greens! Looks pretty delicious.

  3. 3
    Michelle   March 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    i often tuck into a corner and rat a salad that is bigger than my head. my favorite addition latest has been seaweed…

  4. 4
    Joanne   March 14, 2011 at 3:16 am

    I’ve been eating a lot of big salads lately also. Gorging on so many veggies always makes me feel so good about what I’m putting into my body! I love that dressing and the crunch from the cranberries and pecans!

  5. 5
    Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)   March 14, 2011 at 4:44 am

    I’ve never used farro but you make it look very tempting. Lovely salad. Looks like a full meal!

  6. 6
    Lynn   March 14, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I don’t know that I’ve ever had farro. One of the reasons I love your blog- you always give me reasons to try new things. Beautiful salad!

  7. 7
    Rach   March 14, 2011 at 5:44 am

    I’m on a major salad kick, too, but mine is an uncharacteristic attempt to ‘diet’ to get my arthritis under control. Oh, how I wish I had pecans in the cupboard! I’ll be trying a version of this tonight. x

  8. 8
    Eva   March 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Love salads! They are just such a feel good meal… love this time of year also! Its light out until 730pm now! woohhhwho!

  9. 9
    Dana   March 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Broccoli is my very favorite vegetable. Why do I not put it in my salads? Why has that never occurred to me? And I am obsessed with farro right now. I would eat this all day. Another thing. I was just complaining about how my very dirty oven does not have a self-cleaning feature and also how I did not want to use any of those highly toxic products in a place where I bake my food. You have solved that problem for me. Clean oven, here I come!

  10. 10
    Kimberley   March 14, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I have yet to cook with farro, which is rather silly. When I do, I’m using this salad as a jumping off point. I can’t get enough of salads with grains.

  11. 11
    Maddie   March 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I like that you added farro here, because so often (delicious) salads fill me up with veggie bulk and leave me hungry an hour afterwards. Having salad with bread on the side helps, but adding grains to the salad itself makes for a more interesting twist.

  12. 12
    Renee   March 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    This salad looks so good! I’ve never cooked farro, but I think I really need to, especially since I saw a recipe today using that mighty grain in risotto. Love big salads!

  13. 13
    foodies at home   March 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I have never tried farro in my salads but I feel ya on the greens…I’m dying for spring and all the yummy veggies!

  14. 14
    Bijoux   March 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Brace yourself. I’ve only eaten farro at Greek wakes, yup, they only make it for wakes and it’s covered in icing sugar and decorated with silver dragees. Inside they add sugar, pom seeds, parsley, cinnamon, raisins, almonds. It’s called “koliva.” It’s not bad actually. But not something everyone would like unless you were raised on it.

    Your salad sounds very delicious and healthy. I love cranberries and nuts in salads and I’m sure the chewy faro adds another yummy dimension. Definitely worth trying out one day.

    Here’s a link to a recipe of the sweet farro dish I’ve described above:

  15. 15
    Mandy   March 16, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Just found out about your blog, and I totally luuuve it!!

  16. 16
    Lucyeats   March 16, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Farro? What’s farro?? I do like myself a crunchy salad though and the sauce ingredients sound really tasty!

  17. 17
    kickpleat   March 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Suzy, sounds like a perfect recovery plan! Enjoy.

    Thanks brittany.

    Michelle, I’ve never tried seaweed in a salad. Will give it a go!

    Hooray for big salads, Joanne! Thanks.

    Rivki, I really liked the farro here. It’s a pretty versatile grain.

    Lynn, give it a try. It’s chewy and it’s good in soups and salads!

    Rach, any kind of nut will do – walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds – even sunflower seeds!

    Eva, I’m thrilled about the 7:30 light out! Hooray!!

    Dana, yes, you have to give the baking soda trick a try! It cleaned up even the nastiest fruit-pie-baked-on-crap at the bottom. No toxic stuff and very little scrubbing. And broccoli in salads – it ain’t bad!

    Kimberley it’s a good grain to have around and I’d like to cook more with it.

    Thanks Maddie! Yes, a salad shouldn’t make you feel hungry 10 minutes later! The grains help to cushion your stomach 🙂

    Renee, oooh, that sounds amazing!!

    Thanks foodies at home for stopping by, and yes to more veggies!

    Bijoux, wow, that’s different! Who knew – well, not me. I think you should give this one a try and I’m going to check out your sweet Jamie version!

    Thanks so much Mandy.

    Lucyeats, farro is wheat – similar to splet. Give it a try!

  18. 18
    Adventure Nell   March 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Heya, i made this salad last night and it is a winner BUT farro is rather confusing and not easily found so just left it out. Where would one find it cause it is not at our local grocery store and if I can’t find it, what is a good alternative??


  19. 19
    kickpleat   March 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Nell, glad you enjoyed the salad, even without the farro. Yes, it’s a tricky grain to find. I purchased some a local gourmet shop. If your city has a Little Italy, try there or give a gourmet shop a try. If you can’t find any and you want to give your salad some bulk, try pearl barley, chickpeas or even wild rice.

  20. 20
    Adventure Nell   March 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks!! Victoria does not have a little italy but we do have some wicked italian shops so will check them and if all else fails, barley/chickpeas it is 🙂

  21. 21
    kickpleat   March 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Nell, health food shops might also be another lead. I’d check the ChowHound boards if anyone has come up with farro in Victoria – or post and see if you get any leads! Good luck.

  22. 22
    Ashley   April 8, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Yum I love big salads like this! I’m terrible at putting together salads on my own though haha.

  23. 23
    kickpleat   April 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Ashley, I’m shocked. I love eating big salads and I think they’re pretty simple to put together. Enjoy!

  24. 24
    Robert F   January 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I made this as written, it was very tasty. My salads often use too much lettuce, but this recipe uses lettuce as a side note, which is a nice touch. All kinds of pleasant contrasts in here: sweet and savory, crunchy pecans and tender veggies. I’m generally not a fan of sweetened mustard, but this dressing still has an acidic punch, and the sugar brings other flavors to the fore, such as the unexpected jolt when the dressing bursts from the broccoli and beans.

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