This delicious and healthy Mediterranean farro salad bowl is inspired by a lunch I had few years ago at this cute little cafe called Cafe Lumiere. I was hungry, but wanted to have something light so I chose their simple Mediterranean Bowl. It was so good! When I came home I knew I wanted to recreate it for a light dinner and this is the result!
This version should be seen as a starting point and a base. Personally, I really like the spicy yogurt sauce, but a drizzle of good olive oil and flakey salt would work just as well.
What I love about this recipe
While I was tempted to add some protein to the salad, I love that it’s hearty but also vegetarian. It’s a great way to get a big boost of veggies and fiber into your diet and the ingredients really are a nice mix of flavors. Plus, it keeps well for a few days in the fridge and is easy to transport for lunches.
How to properly cook farro
Farro is a grain and so I like to cook it like I cook hearty grains. I add the grain to boiling water that has been pretty heavily salted. I usually do 4 cups of water per cup of farro and a big pinch of kosher salt.
The farro will need to boil for 25-30 minutes until it’s really tender. Then, most importantly, drain the water off the farro, return it to the pot, cover and let steam for five minutes. Then fluff it with a fork to separate the grains and make sure they don’t stick together.
How to Make Spicy Yogurt Sauce
I kind of made this up on the fly but it turned out great. It almost has a tex-mex feel to it thanks to the cumin and Serrano pepper, but believe it or not it works well with the salad bowls.
Blend everything together in a food processor and then taste and adjust. You might need an extra pinch of salt or maybe another splash of lemon juice. Make it your own!
Making the Mediterranean Farro Salad
The only things you need to cook for this recipe are the cauliflower and the farro. I just broke my purple cauliflower into florets and drizzled with olive oil. Roast at 400˚ for about 25 minutes until they are charred in spots.
Cook the farro in lightly salted water until it’s tender, again about 20-25 minutes. When the farro is tender, you can drain off extra water and let it steam in the pan for a few minutes.
One trick I like to use to lighten up farro a bit is to sliver-cut some baby spinach and mix it in once the farro has cooled a bit. Gives the farro salad kind of a lighter, fresh texture.
Time to top these salad bowls! I loaded mine up with roasted cauliflower, marinated artichokes, avocado, and fresh mint.
But wait! More toppings!
Drizzle on some of the dressing (or serve it on the side), plus I added some sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds for extra crunch and color.
These bowls have a naturally chewy texture and an almost nutty flavor. You can feel good about serving and eating this Mediterranean Farro Salad any time!
Substitution Ideas for the farro salad
This recipe is infinitely flexible. Here are some ways you could change it up:
- Use any sturdy grain instead of farro. Barley, quinoa (a seed – I know), or brown rice would all work.
- Add thinly sliced steak or shredded rotisserie chicken for extra protein.
- Add other roasted veggies like chickpeas, winter squashes, or broccoli.
- Add other crunchy veggies from your pantry like cucumbers, red onions, cherry tomatoes,
- Top with more big-flavor Mediterranean pantry items like sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and kalamata olives.
Roasted Cauliflower Mediterranean Farro Salad
- 1 cup farro, boiled until tender
- 1 head purple cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup marinated artichokes
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 cups baby spinach, slivered
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Fresh mint, garnish
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed
- 1 lemon, juice only
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450 F˚. Use a paring knife to cut florets off the cauliflower head. Lay out florets on a baking sheet (line with parchment paper for easier cleanup). Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast cauliflower for 20-25 minutes until tender and charred in spots.
- Cook farro in lightly salted water (I use 4 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per cup of farro). Bring to a simmer, add the farro, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender – maybe 20-25 minutes. Once farro is cooked through and tender, drain off any extra water, remove from heat, cover, and let steam for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.
- To make sauce, add all sauce ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Adjust to your liking. If you don’t have a food processor you can finely mince the garlic and pepper and stir everything together. It won’t be a smooth, but the flavors will still work.
- To build your salad, mince some baby spinach and stir into your slightly cooled farro (if the farro is too hot it will wilt the spinach). Divide farro between bowls. Top with roasted cauliflower, avocado, and artichokes.
- Garnish bowls with pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, sunflower seeds, and a heavy drizzle of yogurt sauce.
Did you make this recipe?
Here are a few other wonderful lunch salad ideas
I’m always up for a wonderful lunch salad. If this one doesn’t look good to you, check out this Acorn Squash Salad which is really filling and works as a great side dish. For something with a very different flavor profile, check out this Fajita Taco Salad – one of my all-time favorite lunches. While it’s a little better when peaches are perfectly in season, this Blue Cheese Steak Salad is always a winner as well. To stick with the Mediterranean theme, this Chickpea Salad from Eating with Clarity also looks like a winner!