Farro-Argula Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

5 Apr

To go with the Chicken Breast in Red-Wine Sauce, I wanted something with a grain or a salad to go along with it. At first, I thought paring these two didn’t make any sense farro, to my knowledge, is a Middle Eastern ingredient. However, it’s noted that farro is popular in Italy (Galvin 297). (Score! I just made an Italian meal.) With this recipe, one thing that has me miffed is, “How do you make a vinaigrette using walnuts?” Healthy cooking or not, I’ve never heard of that. In addition to the farro, this will be my first time using and trying another ingredient: goat cheese.

Ingredients and Shopping

Being all excited to work with farro, I wanted to find out more info and whether it’s a whole grain or not. (It is.) Another name for it is emmer wheat (Galvin 297). It’s considered an ancient grain with its origins from the Mediterranean and Middle East. Farro is known for producing low yields and difficult to harvest; so, it often got replaced as time went on. That said, farro is a type of grain that can grow and even thrive in crap-static conditions (Foster). Its spread to the Western world is possibly attributed to the French Haute Savoie and its use as a ration for the Roman Legions during the time of their Empire (About.com).

Though similar, farro can be easily mistaken for another grain (often spelt). So make sure you read the package carefully when buying this ingredient. If you have difficulty finding it in the grain/pasta section of the store, other areas to look are health food and ethnic/specialty. Otherwise, you will need to go to a specialty or health food store. Farro aside, the rest of the ingredients should not be hard to get.

To get all the ingredients, I went to 2 stores:

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Whole Foods

Making and Tasting the recipe

                As fun as this salad seems, there is quite a few components. The longest of which is working with the farro. From the book to other sources, they say the farro must be soaked before cooking it. Even though this isn’t an odd preparation (I think this is done with some rice preparations), I’m not entirely sure why this must done. If anyone knows, please reply below. When it was time to make the vinaigrette, walnuts, though in the salad, aren’t actually in it. I was disappointed and wondering if saying “walnut vinaigrette” is misleading or not.

This recipe didn’t feature a reference photo, and I think it might have been helpful. One other ingredient in the salad is sliced apples, which I did lengthwise. Therefore, it looks like they don’t belong, unless the apples are the bulk. While I combining everything, the goat cheese bound together and coated the salad. I’m not sure if that was a mistake. The final effect looks as if I totally screwed it up.

Amidst the possible errors, I was happy with what turned out. When first bit into this, it tasted a little odd with all the combinations and threw me off. Once I got past that, my palette and even eyes danced with all the textures and flavors, and they play off each other well. You get nuttiness and an al dente bite from the farro, crisp and sour from the apple, tangy and creamy from the goat cheese, etc.

The recipe description gives modifications to show the adaptability of this recipe. I get why it was written, but I feel as it’s downplaying the recipe. This salad, as is, has a fun mix and even a good introduction to new ingredients to try out. Even if I have to make another trip, I personally think it’s worth it. The only thing I modify is to double the amount of arugula in the recipe to get another serving of vegetables in and have that flavor a little more resonated.

Nutrition Info

Originally, I said this recipe and the nutrition info couldn’t be accessed online. Although, with search engines, modify you search, like using different wording, and you can find what you’re looking for. Thus, here is the to recipe online:


Since I’ve been highlighting farro throughout this post, here is a nutrition tidbit of farro to be aware of; the nutritional content of farro can vary based on the type and brand you use. So, read the package carefully. For example, the farro I used has over 3x the calories per serving (170) than what SparkPeople apparently used (50). Regardless of the nutrition info you read, this is a recipe to not get caught up in the numbers. This salad has a whole grain, vegetable, and fruit and protein/dairy. You only need to look it to know it’s healthy and satisfying.


I give this recipe a 4.25 out five. Even if it may weird or just unfamiliar to me, I absolutely love it and wouldn’t change much about it.


–          “Farro: Grain of the Legions.” About.com. 2013. About.com. 26 Mar. 2013 <http://italianfood.about.com/library/rec/blr0002.htm&gt;.

–          Foster, Niki. “What is Farro?” WiseGEEK. Ed. Brownyn Harris. 2013. Conjecture Corporation. 26 Mar. 2013 <http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-farro.htm&gt;.

–          Galvin, Meg, and Stepfanie Romine. “Farro-Arugula Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette.” The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2011. 297.


–          “Farro: Grain of the Legions.” About.com. 2013. About.com. 26 Mar. 2013 <http://italianfood.about.com/library/rec/blr0002.htm&gt;.

–          SPCookbook. “Farro Arugula Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette.” SparkRecipes. SparkPeople. 09 July 2013 <http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1031566&gt;.

One Response to “Farro-Argula Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette”

  1. EatMe2 April 5, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    With upfront cost, should I get all ingredients, including bases, it would have cost me about $34.62 (21.33 in actual cost). This price includes getting the farro on sale for $2.00 less.

    As promised, here is my nutrition calculations for this recipe:
    Serves 4
    Calories- 361.3
    Fat- 12.2 g
    Cholesterol- 10 mg
    Sodium 404.9 mg
    Total Carbs- 42.2 g
    Dietary Fiber- 6.7 g
    Protein 8.3 g

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