Farro Salad

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published May 4, 2022

This easy salad recipe features a flavorful farro, which is filling and nutrient-dense. This recipe lends itself to include any vegetables you may have in your fridge or pantry. To better absorb the flavors, cook the farro in water with lime juice, Mexican spice, and cilantro.

The Delicious and Highly Nutritious Farro Salad

Photo credit: Michael Fleming
Recipe credit: Beverly Verwey

One of our favorite things about spring is the opportunity to add more fresh vegetables to our plates, and there's no better way to serve all that colorful produce (like lettuce, green beans, peas and radishes) than in a delicious spring salad.

If you’re someone who hears the word ‘salad’ and immediately fears an unsatisfying, less-than-filling meal, have no fear! This protein-packed recipe is here to change your mind.

In search of meal prep ideas? Packed with seasonal ingredients, this salad delivers maximum flavor with minimal prep time. 

What Is Farro?

Farro is an ancient grain that has been around for thousands of years. More recently, it has grown in popularity. Not only does it taste great — it’s also good for your health. Farro is also a great alternative to refined grains and can easily be added to your diet.

The name farro refers to a couple different types of grains, mainly because the name is used interchangeably in different regions and countries.

The kind that’s most commonly found in the US and Europe is emmer wheat. It’s sold dry and prepared by cooking it in water until it’s soft and chewy. Before it’s cooked, it looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley. It’s a small, light-brown grain with a noticeable outer layer of bran.

Farro is loved for its nutty flavor and unique, chewy texture. It’s a great alternative to other popular grains, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat and barley, among others. It can be eaten alone or as an ingredient in dishes like stews, salads and soups. It can also be mixed with fruit and cream and eaten in a similar style to granola or muesli.

Wondering if farro is carbohydrate-rich? Yep. It's a whole grain, after all. Heads up: It's not gluten-free either.

Why is Farro a Great Main Ingredient Option?

Farro is an extremely nutritious grain that makes a great alternative to rice or other grains. It is a great source of fiber, iron, protein and magnesium. With all of those nutrients in this little grain, it can provide a lot of health benefits for your diabetes or for heart health or for brain health.

Farro is a much healthier alternative to white rice or other refined grains. One-fourth cup (47 grams) of organic, whole grain emmer farro contains plenty of fiber (5 grams) and protein (6 grams) in exchange for just 34 grams of carbohydrates.

Adding some farro to your diet will give you a healthy dose of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B3 (niacin), all of which play important roles in your body.

Zinc is essential for a rock solid immune system and wound healing, as well as breaking down carbs during digestion.
Magnesium is needed for strong bones, optimum immunity, healthy nerve and muscle function, and to keep your heartbeat regular.
Vitamin B3 (niacin), along with other B vitamins, helps break down and convert food into energy. It also helps keep your hair, skin, and eyes healthy, along with other functions.

With all of those nutrients packed into this little grain, it can provide a lot of health benefits for your diabetes, heart health, and brain health. Also, it helps regulate blood glucose levels and is linked to improved insulin sensitivity.

Buying Tip

Shopping for farro isn't as simple as you'd think — and unfortunately, dissecting the packaging won't help (unless you know what you're looking for). Although farro medio is by far the most popular in the United States, there are three other common varieties of farro that you might spot in the grocery store.

Pearled farro: This is what you'll find in most American grocery stores. Although it doesn't have as much flavor as other varieties, it has the shortest cook time (which explains why most people love it).

Semi-pearled farro: This version is the best of both worlds with half of the grain intact and a reduced cook time.

Whole farro: Since the grain is still intact, this version has the most nutrients per serving and strongest flavor. Even after soaking the grains overnight, whole farro typically takes at least 30 minutes to cook.

Farro: the Versatile Grain

One of the best things about farro is its versatility. Depending on the ingredients you mix it with, farro can create a distinctly Mexican flavor, Italian, or even fresh Americano. Farro is a solid substrate to add seasoning to in order to create a satisfying, healthy dish.

In this particular recipe, the black beans, peppers, cilantro, avocado, lime, and spices swirl together to create a delightful and hearty Mexican dish that is sure to satisfy.

Farro Salad

Beverly Verwey
This easy salad recipe features flavourful farro, which is filling and nutrient-dense. This recipe lends itself to include any vegetables you may have in your fridge or pantry. To better absorb the flavors, cook the farro in water with lime juice, Mexican spice, and cilantro.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 person
Calories 413 kcal


  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (or 1/2 lime)
  • 1 tbsp Mexican spice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup corn frozen
  • 1/4 cup salsa use your favorite heat level
  • 1/2 bell pepper or hot pepper
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium black beans
  • 1/2 avocado sliced


  • Add lime juice, mexican spice, and cilantro to cooked farro and combine well. Place the farro mixture into a bowl.
  • Around the farro place corn, pepper, onion salsa and black beans.
  • Stir everything together before eating.


Calories: 413kcalCarbohydrates: 68.4gProtein: 17.9gFat: 2.1gSodium: 393.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.