Discover farro as a cornerstone ingredient in Italian cooking by preparing this warm farro salad tossed with roasted sweet potatoes, kale, sweet chopped dates and a tangy pancetta salad dressing. It’s a hearty main course salad recipe that the whole family will love, especially in the fall.

white serving dish of cooked farro with chopped dates, pancetta dressing and kale

Inspired by a classic warm spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, this warm farro salad might just be the best of all farro salad recipes. You might already be a fan of the popular farro and burrata salad or maybe you prefer the chopped mediterranean farro salad. Farro with its nutty flavor is the star of all of these simple side dish recipes and is one of the most versatile whole grains to prepare.

Oh I forgot one! This farro salad with lemon vinaigrette just might be my favorite probably because it has parmesan in it! 😊

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The perfect fall salad recipe

Here’s 3 reasons to love this recipe all year ’round not just in Fall:

  • Caramelized flavor. Roasting the sweet potatoes and mushrooms adds rich flavor reminiscent of fall.
  • Cozy warm dressing. Calling on a sweet pancetta dressing from an iconic butternut squash and kale salad recipe gives a salty tang.
  • Apple cider. A classic ingredient in fall recipes, apple cider plays a supporting role with star quality.
  • Flexible. You can serve this salad also at room temperature making it a great party side dish or salad.

For this Italian farro salad recipe, you’ll simmer the farro in apple cider, a cooking technique borrowed from New York City’s famed Italian restaurant, Charlie Bird. Charlie Bird’s farro salad recipe has sugar snap peas, pistachio and parmesan. Cooking the farro in cider results in a sweet, somewhat sticky but still chewy farro that pairs gorgeously with the bitterness of the roasted kale.

Ingredient call outs

ingredients for a warm farro salad with kale, sweet potato, mushrooms, chopped dates and farro on a wooden cutting board.
  • Apple cider. Use the kind that’s been cold pressed and is usually found in the produce section of your grocery store, but don’t use regular apple juice.
  • Farro. Trader Joe’s quick farro cooks up in about 10 minutes. I use it in most of my farro salad recipes.
  • Lacinato kale. Also known as Tuscan kale, lacinato kale is more tender with a rich green color and great texture compared to curly kale. You also don’t have to massage it as much.
  • Roasted vegetables. Sweet potatoes and mushrooms add color and umami.
  • Chopped dates. Chewy like the farro but perfectly sweet.
  • Pancetta. The key ingredient in the warm dressing that coats the chopped kale beautifully.

How to Massage Kale

Remove the kale leaves from the stem by gently tearing or running the tip of a knife down the stem. Place the kale leaves in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and gently rub the oil into the leaves for about 3 minutes or so.


How to make warm farro salad

Ready to make the best farro salad?

small saucepan of farro cooking in cider.
Simmer farro in apple cider, water and bay leaves.
baking sheet with raw chopped mushrooms, sweet potatoes and small pieces of oiled kale.
Roast fall vegetables in olive oil and salt and pepper.
a stainless skillet of sauteed pancetta.
Make the pancetta dressing in a skillet.
chopped dates, cooked farro, kale, mushrooms, sweet potatoes in white serving dish.
Toss dressing with cooked farro and vegetables.
  • Start by simmering the cider and adding the farro. The ratio is 2:1 cider to farro. Set aside once cooked with that chewy texture farro is known for.
  • Lay the chopped veggies and trimmed kale leaves on baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil and roast until golden.
  • Meanwhile, heat the diced pancetta in a small skillet and once cooked about 6 minutes or so, remove the pancetta and then deglaze the pan with apple cider vinegar scraping up all the brown bits until the dressing has thickened.
  • Add the farro to a large bowl and top with the roasted veggies. Drizzle the dressing over and toss.

5 tips for perfect roasted vegetables…every time!

  • Consistency. Chop or dice roasted vegetables so they’re the same size. This allows them to cook evenly and in the same amount of time.
  • Practice crowd control. Give sliced, cubed or chopped veggies enough space so use a large baking sheet. This allows them to caramelize as opposed to steam and maximize that roasted flavor!
  • Coat with oil. Toss the diced vegetables with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and using your hands or a spatula, mix until all sides are coated.
  • Season liberally. A sprinkle of kosher or sea salt and a few twists of the peppermill will compliment pretty much every roasted vegetable!
  • Flip as needed. Use a spatula to flip while cooking if you prefer roasted veggies to have caramelization on all sides.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


white serving dish of cooked farro with chopped dates, pancetta dressing and kale
5 from 2 votes

Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Dates

Discover farro as a cornerstone ingredient in Italian cooking by preparing this warm farro salad tossed with roasted sweet potatoes, kale, sweet chopped dates and a tangy pancetta salad dressing. It's a hearty main course salad recipe that the whole family will love come fall.
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

For the dressing

For the salad:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 5 large lacinato kale leaves
  • chopped dried dates

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400˚
  • Bring apple cider, water and bay leaves to a boil and add farro. Cook for 10 minutes (if using Trader Joe's quick cooking farro) until soft but chewy. Drain as needed and remove bay leaves and discard. If using a different farro, cook for 25 minutes.
    1 cup farro, 1 cup apple cider, 1 cup water, 2 bay leaves
  • Peel and cube sweet potato.
    1 sweet potato
  • Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and cut into quarters.
    8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • Wash kale leaves and remove leaves from stem by tearing or with a knife. Place in a large bowl and massage with olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt for about 3 minutes or so.
    5 large lacinato kale leaves
  • Place all vegetables on a baking tray(s) and toss the sweet potatoes and mushrooms with a little olive oil and sprinkling of salt. Roast until crispy and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Toss as needed for even caramelization. Check the mushrooms about 15 minutes in and remove sooner if needed.
  • To make warm dressing, cook pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Turn off heat and deglaze pan with apple cider vinegar using a wooden spoon and add a little honey. Stir until incorporated.
    4 oz. cubed pancetta, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 T honey
  • Add farro to a wide rimmed, large bowl and top with roasted vegetables and chopped dates. Drizzle dressing over.
    chopped dried dates

Notes

For more information, the pancetta dressing recipe also in butternut squash and kale salad recipe 
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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