This Summer Farro Salad is loaded with crunchy raw zucchini, radishes and cucumber, juicy tomatoes, buttery pecans, tangy lemon, and Italian kale that’s had a peanut butter massage. Yes, you read that right.
It was the peanut butter massage that intrigued me. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I’m a fan of massaging raw kale with salt, but peanut butter? That was new to me.
A riff on this recipe from Bon Appétit magazine, this summer salad recipe is utterly amenable to change and embellishment. I swapped out a few of the vegetables for those that I had on hand and used peanut butter instead of almond butter – though almond butter would also be great! Or even hazelnut butter! I’ve got some experimenting to do.
Beyond nut butter varieties, you have endless options. Add what looks freshest at the farmers market or use what you have on hand. Some ideas:
- For extra heft, add little balls of fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan, or crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese. Or, to keep this salad vegan and dairy free, add avocado or chickpeas.
- Add thinly sliced shallot or red onion to infuse a bit of oniony heat.
- Slivered fresh basil or chopped fresh parsley would add a lovely herbaceous note.
- To make a gluten free version, use quinoa or oat groats in place of farro.
Serve this as a hearty side dish for four or split it between two people for a completely satisfying meal.
It’s the farro that makes it a meal on its own. Have you had farro? (See this in-depth post, How to Cook Farro.) If you haven’t, promise me you’ll find some and give it a try. It’s delicious at any temperature, but especially cold. It adds a nutty flavor and heft to salads, particularly when you use whole grain instead of pearled farro. A few examples: Charlie Bird Salad, Smoked Salmon Salad, and Greek Farro Salad.
When you make this, consider doubling the recipe. We did and had it for dinner two nights in a row – summer laziness, you understand. It was even better the second day.
Summer Farro Salad
For the Dressing
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Salad
- 1 bunch Italian kale sliced crosswise into thin ribbons
- large pinch fine salt
- 1 cup cooked farro
- 1 small zucchini thinly sliced into circles
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- 1/2 English cucumber halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-circles
- 1 cup red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes halved
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
To make the dressing:
- Whisk lemon juice, peanut butter and salt in a small bowl to combine; slowly add olive oil, whisking to emulsify.
To make the salad:
- Place kale ribbons in a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and 2 tablespoons dressing and massage until softened and evenly coated, about 1 minute.
- Add farro, zucchini, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, and remaining dressing; toss to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve topped with toasted pecans.