Farro Adds a Toothsome Bite to this Savory Salad

Off the grid of late, spending every available minute, and every ounce of inspiration, on a book synopsis that had to be submitted last week. My two protagonists (female 31-year old first cousins) are of Polish descent, and Eastern European food has been on my mind.

A handheld mandolin is my key to this salad's success.

A handheld mandolin is my key to this salad’s success.

This salad is my daughter’s recipe and was inspired by my mother-in-law’s Slavic kitchen–heavy on the cucumber and fresh dill. As recipes go, I added my own stamp––cooked farro and fennel, and for the past several months I’ve been making some variation of this weekly. In my book of rules, that’s the mark of a recipe worthy of sharing.

I love the addition of farro, the powerhouse grain, which adds a welcome earthiness and chew to the salad so that it can suffice as a main course.

The key to success is using a mandolin. One of my favorite kitchen tools, it is handy for slicing foods paper thin. Years ago I purchased an expensive large, stainless mandolin but it takes up too much valuable kitchen space. I put it in storage and never use it. Enter the $14.99 hand-held mandolin that is easy to store, clean and serves my purposes as well as the big boy.

(Note that I’m not, nor have I ever been, compensated for endorsing product I like. Just want to share my experiences if they are positive.)

If you’re not on a sodium-restricted diet, the salted cucumbers lend the balance and contribute to the flavor profile. I don’t skip this step and take a heavy hand with the shaker. Mix and match ingredients according to your whim. I often add avocado and when tomatoes are in season, will substitute them for the radishes.

Recipe: Tossed Salad with Farro, Cucumbers and Dill


  • 1/3 cup dry farro (you’ll need a cup or so of cooked farro for the recipe)
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced on a mandolin (see above notes)
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped (adding chopped fennel fronds, optional)
  • 8-10 packed cups washed and prepared salad greens
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 8 large radishes thinly sliced, mandolin optional


  1. Cook faro according to package directions and let cool.Place sliced cucumbers on a clean towel or paper towels. Season with kosher salt. Let moisture drain for 15 minutes.
  2. Rub salad bowl interior with one half of the clove of garlic. Mince the other half. Whisk minced garlic, oil, lemon juice and dill together in salad bowl. Stir in one cup (or more to taste) of the cooked farro into the dressing. Pat cucumbers dry and stir into the mixture. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper. (Note: if you like salads lightly dressed, remove some of the dressing and reserve for another salad or add additional salad greens to recipe.)
  3. Toss greens, fennel, and radishes into the vegetables and serve.

Active time: 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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