Capture all the flavors of spring with this hearty yet healthy spring grain salad.
Chewy, nutty farro makes up the base of this delicious dish, but it’s the sauteed asparagus and Brussel sprouts that really bring the flavor. Green peas, radishes, and fresh avocado round out the texture profile for a salad that is far more complex and satisfying than your typical spring greens plate.
Finish it all with a tangy, homemade lemon vinaigrette for the perfect lunch or dinner. Or, for a heartier meal, serve this salad alongside hummus wraps, vegan cream of asparagus soup, or vegan grilled cheese sandwiches.
What Is Farro?
Farro, a type of wheat, is a high-protein grain that has been used since ancient times. It has less starch and more fiber than many more commonly used grains and has an excellent, chewy texture that makes it a wonderful addition to salads.
Farro has a pronounced nutty flavor with undertones of cinnamon. You can easily enhance the taste by browning the grains before cooking them.
This healthy grain makes a great addition or substitution to any dish that would benefit from its complex, chewy texture. It is worth noting, however, that farro is a type of wheat and is therefor unsuitable for those with gluten sensitivities and intolerances.
- Farro. This ancient grain provides the perfect texture to compliment the veggies in this recipe. If you’re having trouble finding farro, you can substitute it with barley or oat berries and get a similar chewiness. If you have time, you can order farro off Amazon.
- Asparagus. This veggie packs a ton of antioxidants and brings vibrant green to the finished dish.
- Avocado. Look for firmer ripe avocados for this salad. They’ll hold up better during mixing and add the perfect texture to the overall presentation.
- Radishes. Fresh radishes bring a little spice and a big crunch. Feel free to skip if you’re not a radish fan, but we highly recommend keeping them in.
How to Make Spring Grain Salad
This salad has a lot of complex flavors and textures, but it is wonderfully simple to make. Prep time takes about ten minutes while cooking the farro adds an additional twenty.
Start by cooking the farro according to the package directions. Once the farro is done, drain the excess water and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Remove the woody ends of the asparagus and cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces then quarter the Brussel sprouts.
Add two tablespoons of oil to a skillet, allow it to heat, then add the Brussel sprouts and asparagus and cook for about 6 to 10 minutes. You’ll know the veggies are done when they’re tender and begin to brown.
Add the peas to the skillet and stir gently until they have warmed through. Be careful not to smash the other veggies as you stir.
Add salt and pepper as desired.
Transfer veggies to a mixing bowl and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Pit and dice the avocado into bite-sized pieces, then thinly slice the radishes.
Add the radishes and avocado to the mixing bowl with the other vegetables.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper together to create the dressing. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake them to mix.
Add the mixed vegetables to the cooled farro and gently combine.
Serve the spring grain salad mix with lemon vinaigrette drizzled over the top.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Mix it up! For a different take on this wonderful salad, try swapping out the farro for another whole grain like spelt, oats, quinoa, barley, or wheat berries.
- Cook the grains however you want. If you’re interested in cooking farro in an Instapot or rice cooker, check out our guide.
- Cut the avocado carefully. For an in-depth tutorial on how to cut avocados, check out our guide.
- Get those radish slices thin. For best results, we recommend using a mandolin slicer or thin, sharp knife.
- Change up the dressing. For a more complex homemade lemon vinaigrette, check out this recipe.
How to Store It
To store leftover spring grain salad, put it in an airtight container such as a Pyrex, Tupperware, or Mason jar and put it in the fridge. Store the dressing in an airtight container separately.
If you expect to have leftovers, dice your avocado and add the pieces to each portion you plan to eat right away. Store the remaining salad without avocado mixed in, then add fresh avo once you are ready to eat it.
Stored spring grain salad will stay good for up to five days in the fridge. If there are avocados mixed in, expect them to oxidize and turn brown. These avos are still safe to eat, they just won’t look as appetizing.
Try These Other Great Salad Recipes
- Fresh Spring Salad – Lemon dill dressing with leafy greens and creamy vegan feta.
- Summer Farro Salad – Same great chewy farro and lemon vinaigrette now tossed with mint and blueberries.
- Easy Vegan Summer Pasta Salad – Cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, and more tossed with tangy dressing and springy pasta.
- Mango Cucumber Salad – Sweet mangos, crunchy cucumbers, and tangy dressing.
- Vegan Quinoa Salad – A lighter take on our spring grain salad that’s even quicker to make.
Spring Grain Salad
Spring Grain Salad
- 2 cups farro
- 1 lb asparagus about 12 medium-sized spears, cut into 2" pieces
- ½ lb Brussels sprouts quartered
- ½ cup green peas frozen
- 3 radishes medium sized, sliced into wheels
- 1 avocado 1 medium or 2 small, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
- 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Cook farro according to package directions, or follow our guide for how to cook farro. Drain excess water and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Cut asparagus into 2" pieces and quarter the Brussels sprouts. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the asparagus and Brussels sprouts and sauté until they soften and begin to brown.
- Add peas and gently stir together until the peas are warm. Avoid over-stirring at this point to keep from mashing the veggies. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl to allow to cool to room temperature.
- Dice the avocado and slice the radishes. Add them to the bowl and mix with the veggies.
- Mix the ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette until well combined. Shaking the mixture in a jar or container with a tight lid is a quick and easy method.
- Serve the Spring Grain Salad in bowls and drizzle on the Lemon Vinaigrette along with more salt and pepper to taste.
About the Author
Sara Seitz is a freelance writer living with type 1 diabetes. Her search for better health and better control of her blood sugars led her to a plant-based diet. When she isn’t experimenting with new vegan recipes, she’s helping spread the word about how plant-based is better for people and the planet. More articles by Sara.