This vegan spring farro salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette is brimming with seasonal flavor. Nutty, chewy farro is mixed with fresh radish slices, steamed green peas, roasted asparagus, and tender shiitake mushrooms. A creamy roasted garlic vinaigrette is drizzled on top to coat the veggies and farro. The colors and flavors of spring all wrapped up in one hearty salad.
The warm, sunny day that was mentioned here seems like a far off place after the snow crept back in and blanketed the streets on Monday. I'm crossing my fingers that it was the last of the snow for the season, but Chicago's weather keeps it real. Real as in completely unpredictable.
The more desperately we cling to the summer hopefulness elicited by the unexpected warm days, the more likely it becomes that we'll end up chilled to the bone once again. And don't you dare tempt fate by exchanging your boots and sweaters for sandals and sundresses. No, no. Chicago Weather isn't the kind of gal to be confined to your sun-soaked hopes and expectations; she's untamed.
Although the weather is shouting winter, nothing can stop this recipe from screaming spring. This farro salad is packed to its nutty, chewy edges with the colors and flavors of the season, and it's quickly become a trusty go-to in our house.
My favorite component in this recipe is the roasted garlic. Two heads of garlic are roasted until they're tender, buttery, and golden, and that becomes the base for the creamy vinaigrette that gets tossed throughout the farro and veggies. Roasting the garlic quiets its zesty bite and allows it to nestle up against the other flavors without dominating them (or your breath, for that matter). You'll blend the roasted garlic with olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, tahini, a splash of maple syrup, sea salt, and black pepper. It becomes a richly-flavored, tangy dressing.
While the garlic is roasting, you'll cook the farro and roast fresh asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. Then, sweet peas are steamed and crisp radishes are sliced. Everything gets tossed together in a bowl, and the vinaigrette is liberally drizzled over top. Toss, season, and savor.
As long as I have this salad, I have spring. Or at least I can pretend to until the warm weather officially takes hold in this crazy, awesome city.
Spring Farro Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
For the Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- 2 small heads garlic, roasted*
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup or agave
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Farro Salad
- 1 cup farro, rinsed and drained**
- 3 cups water
- 1 small bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut into ½-inch-wide strips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 10 ounces petite peas, steamed until tender***
- 4 small radishes, thinly sliced
For the Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Start by roasting your garlic (see notes for a tutorial). Let cool.
- To make the roasted garlic vinaigrette, squeeze the roasted garlic into a blender along with the vinegar, lemon juice, tahini, water, maple syrup, sea salt, and black pepper. Blend on medium for 30 seconds, and slowly begin pouring the olive oil into the blender.
For the Farro Salad
- Add the rinsed farro and water to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain excess water if needed.
- While the farro is cooking, add the asparagus and shiitakes to a medium baking pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast alongside the garlic at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
- Add the farro, roasted veggies, peas, and radishes to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top**** and toss to coat.
- Season to taste, and serve.
**To make this gluten-free, substitute brown rice for the farro.
***10 ounces is approximately 2 cups. I use frozen organic peas, but you can absolutely use fresh if you prefer.
****You may not need to use all of the dressing, so add about ¾ and taste before adding more. I add all of it because the farro absorbs it over time.
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says
I feel you on this! It was so nice to have sunny, warm days a couple of weeks ago, but that snow really threw a wrench in my 'it's FINALLY spring!' mentality. I just discovered farro last year and love it, so I can't wait to try this one!
The wishy-washy weather is a real pain, isn't it?! And what is with today? I'm guessing Milwaukee is experiencing something similar to Chicago -- 27F and lots of wind whipping off the lake. Ugh. Hoping this is truly the last of it!
On a farro note, isn't it the best? I love the texture, and it's so welcoming to a wide array of sauces, dressings, veggies, etc. I hope you enjoy the recipe, Abby!
lynsey | lynseylovesfood says
this is everything spring and then some - the weather in Toronto did the same thing as Chicago so i feel this is the remedy to remind myself it is in fact the end of March. xo
Oh no! I'm sorry that you experienced the same flip-floppy weather in Toronto. I thought we were finally in the clear, but it's currently 27F and incredibly windy. However, next week it's supposed to be in the 50s and sunny, so I'm holding onto that bit of hope. Sending warm vibes and snow-free thoughts to you too, Lynsey!
This looks Amazing! I can't wait to try it tonight. I cannot thank you enough for all of your wonderful vegan recipes. I love them for their simplicity and beautiful looks. And taste of course! Thank you Ashley!
Hi, Marina!! Thank you for your incredibly sweet and supportive words. I'm so glad that you're enjoying the recipes. I hope you enjoy this one just as much as the others!
Woww, I can already imagine the taste and smell of this delicious salad! I have to try this! Thank you for sharing
You're welcome! Thanks for your kind words -- I hope you enjoy the recipe!
To Kiss the Cook says
Ashley, this seriously looks and sounds INCREDIBLE. I'm not even a big tahini person but I'm willing to get over it for this.
Thanks so much, Jesse!! I hear you on the tahini; up until about a year ago, I avoided it because of the bitter aftertaste. Once I started incorporating it into dressings, smoothies, etc., I fell in love, and now I'm totally addicted. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and thanks for the sweet comment. It's always so good to hear from you!
Looks lovely! I love roasted garlic!
I just roasted the garlic for this recipe and completely forgot to double check the weight of my cloves before doing so.
Any chance you might be able to give a rough, volumetric measurement for the amount of roasted garlic required for the vinaigrette? I don't want to throw off the balance of the dressing. :)
Thank you so much!
Hi Aidan! I don't have a volumetric measurement for the garlic, but just go by taste. Add a bit, blend, taste and adjust from there and you should be fine! Enjoy!
...This seems so obvious now! I have a tendency to overthink and/or over complicate things.
Thanks for another delicious recipe. 😊
Have made this a few times now and find it a tasty cool salad ideal for work day lunches. To amp up the protein content I have added roasted chickpeas. The dressing is delicious but ran out, so used an olive oil, garlic scape and organic honey dressing I bought at a local farmers market---wow!!! Can't wait to make it again:)