This simple winter whole grain side dish is made with warm farro, dried cranberries, nuts, spinach, and herbs. It would be perfect as a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish. 

Warm farro grain salad with spinach, cranberries, nuts, and herbs on a speckled ceramic plate.

I’ve gotten so many compliments on our farro recipes lately, especially this Italian Vegetable Soup, Farro Salad, and Creamy Mushroom Farrotto

Like our comprehensive articles all about how to cook Lentils, Quinoa, Chickpeas, Tofu, and Tempeh, a post all about farro is coming up very soon. But first, we are sharing this winter farro recipe. It makes an excellent side dish, or you could make it a meal by topping it with your favorite protein, such as crumbled goat cheese and more nuts, roasted chickpeas, or a portobello mushroom steak. 

Although we’ll be talking all about farro in another post, it’s worth mentioning now that farro is not a gluten-free food. If you are sensitive to gluten, you may prefer this Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Farro simmers in water on the stove.

Step 1: Cook the Farro

Bring 3 cups of water and a little salt to a boil, then add the farro. Farro can be found whole, semi-pearled, pearled, or quick-cooking. This can be confusing, as they all have varying cook times. Follow the package directions to cook. You’ll know it’s done when it’s al dente – tender, but still with a bit of chew. 

Shallots saute in a red le Creuset skillet.

Step 2: Sauté the Shallots 

Sauté the shallots in a bit of olive oil or butter, or both for flavor. 

Dried cranberries and garlic are added to a skillet.

Step 3: Add Garlic and Cranberries 

As you can see in the image above, I also tried this recipe with some apple and sage, but preferred it without. 

Farro grain recipe with cranberries, spinach, nuts, and herbs for a beautiful vegetarian or vegan side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Yield: Serves 6

Warm Farro Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

This warm farro salad with cranberries is a hearty fall into winter side dish that's quick and easy to make.

Warm Farro Salad


  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley


  1. Rinse farro until water is clear. Bring 3 cups of fresh water and salt to a simmer.
  2. Add the farro, and cook until tender but still chewy, according to package directions, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cranberries and saute another minute longer.
  4. Drain the farro and add to the skillet. Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach until it just begins to wilt.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with nuts and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


If you feel this dish needs a little acid, try adding some apple cider vinegar, to taste (about 1 tablespoon).

Crumbled soft goat-style cheese would be a tasty addition.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated: All-Time Best Thanksgiving Recipes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 374mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.