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Farro Salad with Roasted Carrots and Greens

Al Roker makes a hearty, healthy farro and arugula salad with roasted carrots
TODAY Show: Al Roker makes a hearty, healthy farro and arugula salad with roasted carrots. -- January 15, 2016Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

Chef notes

A salad doesn't need to be some boring afterthought. In fact, you can add in some grains and make it a hearty, filling, and of course, healthy meal. Try this recipe, inspired by a salad I love at Charlie Bird Restaurant in New York City.


  • 1 1/2 cups raw farro
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or sherry, champagne or cider vinegar)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or almond, walnut or avocado oil)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 scallions, white part and a portion of green, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale (about ½ bunch)
  • 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup chopped smoked almonds
  • ½ pound manchego cheese


For farro: Rinse farro under cold water. Put into saucepan with 4 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover pot. Cook 25-30 minutes, until farro is chewy, but still firm. Drain any excess water and return farro to pot. Set aside.

NOTE: To halve the cooking time, soak farro in cold water in refrigerator for 12 hours. Drain and add fresh water to cook. Simmer 15 minutes.

For carrots: While farro cooks, preheat oven to 400F. In a bowl, toss carrots with olive oil and salt. Spread onto a foil-lined sheetpan and roast in oven 15 minutes, until browned and soft.

For vinaigrette:Into the bowl the carrots were tossed in, add vinegar and garlic. Whisk to release garlic flavor. Add mustard and whisk until smooth. Add oil, salt and pepper and continue whisking until smooth and emulsified. Remove pieces of garlic and discard. 

To assemble: Add scallions to the warm farro in the pot. Pour over half the vinaigrette and toss well.

Place the kale in a serving bowl and add half the remaining dressing. Squeeze and massage the dressing into the kale to soften it. Just before serving, stir in remaining salad ingredients except the cheese and the last of the dressing. Add the farro and toss well. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Shave the manchego over the top and serve.