Trying to eat better this year? I know, it’s extra-hard when it’s freezing cold outside and delivery pizza is just one call away. This warm, fresh yet hearty salad is the perfect solution. It packs well for lunch, too.
I really love the combination of garlicky farro with roasted cauliflower and salty feta and olives. Farro is an ancient grain related to wheat that you should be able to find in the health section of grocery stores. It’s nutty in flavor, freezes and defrosts well, and offers some heft to salads.
Fresh greens, sliced avocado, and lemon round it out. This seasonless salad is bursting with bold Mediterranean flavors.
You might recognize this salad from the archives. We have a lot of new visitors this year (hello and welcome!), and I’m trying to make sure my favorite recipes have appealing photos.
I love revisiting existing recipes because they give me more creative energy to devote to new recipes. I’m working on a new batch this week and can’t wait to share the results with you.
This recipe was inspired by a roasted cauliflower and farro salad I found in La Jolla, California. Four summers ago, I happened to be in San Diego at the same time as my parents. My friend and I met up with them for lunch at George’s, an unassuming restaurant with a faded, burgundy awning over the entrance.
We walked inside to discover an incredible view—the restaurant is built into the side of a cove that overlooks the sparkling blue Pacific. It was surreal since I’m accustomed to greeting my parents at home in flat, landlocked Oklahoma. (I’m not knocking Oklahoma—I love it for reasons that don’t include seaside views.)
My friend and I were feeling a little rough after a late night out, but that cauliflower salad brought me back to life. When I recreated it at home, I added some sun-dried tomatoes and greens to my version and loved how it turned out.
Change It Up
I love this salad exactly as written, but it’s a flexible recipe. For extra protein, stir some cooked chickpeas or lentils into the farro, or top your salad with a fried egg.
You could also add a handful of chopped leafy fresh herbs, like parsley, basil or dill. Other options include chopped red onions or freshly toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds.
You could roast broccoli instead of cauliflower. Skip the olives if you’re not into them. See the recipe notes for suggestions on how to make this salad gluten free, and/or vegan/dairy free.
Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and AvocadoCourse: SaladsCuisine: Mediterranean
This satisfying vegetarian salad recipe features warm whole grains, roasted cauliflower, fresh greens and bold Mediterranean flavors. It packs well for lunch, too! Recipe yields 4 hearty salads.
- Roasted cauliflower
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (scale back or omit if sensitive to spice)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Garlicky farro
1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Everything else
⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed, half sliced into small rounds and the rest halved lengthwise
¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and roughly chopped
½ cup crumbled feta (about 2 ounces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about ½ lemon), plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
4+ handfuls leafy greens (spring greens, spinach, arugula or baby kale are all good choices)
- To roast the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt, and arrange it in an even layer across the pan. Roast for 25 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway, until the cauliflower is tender and deeply golden on the edges.
- To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed farro with at least three cups water (enough water to cover the farro by a couple of inches). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy. (Pearled farro will take around 15 minutes; unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes.) Drain off the excess water and mix in the olive oil, garlic and salt. Set aside.
- In a large serving bowl, toss together the roasted cauliflower, cooked farro, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Divide the avocado and greens between four dinner plates. Top with a generous amount of the cauliflower and farro salad. Finish the plates with an extra squeeze of lemon juice or drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Serve promptly.
- STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: Leftovers should keep well for several days. Store greens separately and slice the avocado just before serving.
- CHANGE IT UP: If you can’t find farro, spelt berries or wheat berries would be great substitutions. You might have to cook those grains longer.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: I think this would be good with cooked short-grain brown rice or quinoa instead of farro.
- MAKE IT VEGAN: Skip the feta. You might want to add some extra olives to make up for it.