Farro is truly the best grain for salads! It has that nutty flavour, a bit of chewy texture, the ideal size in my opinion, and it’s also just so hearty. If someone asks me to bring something to a potluck (and I know ahead of time that there aren’t any gluten-free folks at the gathering), a farro salad is my go-to.
With this vegan holiday farro salad, we load it up with seasonal, super fresh flavours. There’s carrots roasted in smoked paprika and thyme, cool mint, tangy pomegranate, bitter and beautiful radicchio, and mellow slices of persimmon. I top it off with crunchy toasted almond slices and a few crumbles of a soft-style vegan cheese–I used the smoky gouda by Nuts For Cheese in these photos. You simply shake up the apple cider vinegar and garlic dressing in a jar!
I used whole farro from Flourist in this recipe, and cooked it in vegetable stock for an added layer of flavour. If you’re using semi-pearled or pearled farro, you will have to adjust your cooking time here.
What can I substitute for…
- Farro? If you need this to be gluten-free, I recommend a wild and brown rice blend like this one from Lundberg.
- Radicchio? Some folks just don’t like the naturally bitter taste of radicchio! You could substitute 1-2 cups of chopped kale (any kind) here.
- Sliced Almonds? Toasted and chopped pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or whole pumpkin seeds would all be great.
- Carrots? Roasted cubes of honeynut or butternut squash would work nicely with the flavour profile of this salad.
- Persimmon? Persimmon has a sweet and rich flavour that’s hard to replicate–it’s very honey-like! That said, if you can’t find them, chopped pear, apple, or even some halved grapes would be lovely seasonal alternatives here.
How to make this Vegan Holiday Farro Salad ahead of time:
You can prep the farro, roasted carrots, and dressing up to 3 days ahead of time. Just store them in sealed containers in the fridge. Toss all three together with the remaining salad components before serving/heading to your destination. Top with the almonds at the very end to keep them crunchy.
If you’re in early holiday feasts planning mode, take a look at my roundup of over 50 Vegan Holiday Recipes. If you like the look of this salad, you might also enjoy my Sweet Potato Radicchio Salad with Roasted Shallot Dressing or my Crushed Beets with Chunky Olive & Mint Dressing.
Vegan Holiday Farro Salad
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Tamari soy sauce
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small garlic clove, finely minced or grated with a Microplane
- ½ small red onion, small dice (about ½ cup chopped onion)
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1-2 ripe Fuyu persimmons, chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
- 1 small head radicchio, chopped
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- handful crumbled vegan “feta” style cheese (optional)
- The farro, roasted carrots, and dressing could be prepped and stored in sealed containers in your fridge up to 3 days in advance.
- To make a gluten-free version of this salad, I recommend seeking out a wild rice blend like this one from Lundberg. Cook 1 cup according to package directions with vegetable stock instead of water is you like.
- To make this soy-free, seek out coconut aminos instead of Tamari. I recommend doubling the amount to a full teaspoon if you’re using coconut aminos.
- To make this nut-free, use toasted pumpkin seeds instead of sliced almonds.
- You can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried thyme for the fresh.
- The vegetable stock gives the farro an extra boost of flavour, but you could definitely use water if you prefer!
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and set out two baking sheets.
- Start the farro. In a medium saucepan with a lid, combine the farro and vegetable stock. Give it a stir and place it over medium high heat. Once the farro is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot with the lid so that a little steam can escape. Cook until tender, but still chewy, and almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and quickly spread the farro out in one of the baking sheets to cool it down quickly. Set aside.
- Roast the carrots. While the farro is simmering, transfer the chopped carrots to the other baking sheet. Toss the carrots with the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme. Once evenly coated, spread the carrots out in a single layer and pop thyme in the oven for 25 minutes, or until slightly caramelized and tender on the edges. Set aside.
- Make the dressing. Get yourself a jar with a sealable lid and inside of it, combine the following: the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, Tamari, salt, pepper, and garlic. Close the lid on tightly and give it a good shake. Once thoroughly mixed, give it a taste and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
- Mix up the salad! In a large bowl, combine the cooked farro, roasted carrots, diced red onion, pomegranate seeds, chopped persimmon, mint, and radicchio. Give this mix a hearty season with salt and pepper and then pour all of the dressing on top. Gently toss the farro salad until evenly combined. Top the finished salad with the sliced almonds and crumbled vegan cheese, if using. Enjoy!