Farro Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Beets
This farro salad is perfect for autumn and winter months when beets and sweet potatoes are in season. It’s hearty and colorful. For a gluten-free version substitute quinoa.
Last summer I discovered how much I enjoy farro. While in Tuscany, I noticed summery farro salads with tomatoes and basil in most cafes. You may remember I shared the recipe for an Italian farro salad here. Now that summer has gone, I wanted to share a version of farro salad that’s perfect for autumn and winter. This farro salad is loaded with color.
This salad begins with roasted veggies. I love roasting beets and sweet potatoes in the winter. Both of my girls will happily gobble up these sweet veggies. Though I roasted red onion with these veggies this time, I personally prefer raw onions and would skip roasting them next time. I’ll leave that up to you though.
While those veggies roast away in the oven, quick cooking farro cooks on the stove. There are several types of farro, but I use the quick cooking variety. You can find it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other grocery stores. It cooks in about the same time as cooking quinoa. Farro is an ancient whole grain that’s high in protein and fiber, so it really fills you up. It’s chewy and nutty and can be used as you would use rice or quinoa. It’s delicious in soups, salads, and used in place of arborio rice in risotto. Keep in mind though, that farro is not gluten-free. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you can still use this recipe, but use cooked quinoa instead.
This colorful farro salad is just so pretty. To add even more harvest flair I added roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and dried cranberries. A bed of arugula ads freshness. I love beets, but they do bleed their fabulous purple juices all over anything they touch. Add them last and toss lightly unless you don’t mind the whole salad to turning pink.
I like to dress this salad with a simple homemade apple cider vinaigrette. If you prefer a balsamic type of dressing, that would work too.
- 2 cups peeled and 1/2" diced beets
- 2 cups peeled and 1/2" diced sweet potato
- 1 red onion, peeled, halved, and sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup quick cooking farro (quinoa for gluten-free version)
- 3 cups water
- 3-5 oz. baby arugula
- 1/3 cup roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 recipe apple cider vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly coat the beets, sweet potatoes, and onion slices separately with olive oil. I keep the beets separate from the other veggies so that they don't turn them all pink. Note: if you like raw onions, don't roast them here, but add in at the end. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 20-25 minutes. They onions will cook more quickly, so you may want to remove them after about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the farro according to package instructions. Drain off any excess water and let cool.
- Place a bed of arugula in a salad serving bowl or platter. Arrange the roasted veggies, farro, pepitas, and cranberries on top.
- When you're ready to eat, very gently toss the salad together or scoop directly onto plates. Don't toss the salad much or it will turn pink. Serve with the apple cider vinaigrette.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 85mg Carbohydrates: 31g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 13g Protein: 11g