This post has been updated for content and photos since it’s original publication in 2014.
Looking for a tasty summer farro salad that’s easy to make and filled with flavors that keep you coming back? My Italian bean salad is loaded with fresh summer veg and familiar Italian ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, so you’ll never get bored. This dish is hearty enough to be a meal on its own, but this simple Italian farro salad also makes a great side dish for summer cookouts or potlucks.
One of my favorite ways to “salad” is to combine some type of whole grain or pasta with fresh veg and some little extras, like cheese, canned beans, and briny, salty little bits that perk up your tastebuds. This Italian bean and farro salad checks all of those boxes and more. Look at the ingredients and tell me you don’t want to try this one.
Italian farro and green bean salad ingredients
- Green Beans
- Red Onions
- Garbanzo Beans
- Sun Dried Tomato
- Kalamata Olives
- Fresh Mozzarella
Blanch and shock the beans
In order to expedite the salad, I like to blanch the green beans in the same water as I cook the farro and since the farro will take longer, start with the green beans.
- Cut the green beans into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces, adding them to a large pot of boiling water and cooking for 4-5 minutes, so that they’re tender, but still firm.
- Transfer the beans with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider to an ice water bath. Doing this “shocks” the beans and stops the cooking process, so that the beans retain their texture and don’t become mushy as well as keeping their vibrant green color.
What is farro?
Farro is an Italian grain that’s toothsome and hearty. It’s firmer than brown rice and has nutty overtones. It’s that firm, chewy texture that makes it great in summer salads like this one. Most farro takes about 25-30 minutes to cook, but I’ve also seen some quicker cooking varieties. Trader Joe’s sells farro that cooks in 10 minutes and since it’s what I had on hand, that’s what I used for this Italian farro and green bean salad. Feel free to use either one.
- Add the farro directly to the same boiling water as you cooked the green beans in. No need to dirty another pot, or bring another vessel of water to a boil. There may be a few immature beans floating around in the water, but that’s ok.
- Make sure you’ve got plenty of water in the pan and return it to a boil.
- Add the farro, bring it to a boil and cook until tender (10 minutes for quick-cooking; 25-30 for traditional).
- Drain the farro in a mesh strainer and return it to the pot.
- Let the farro cool with the lid off while assembling the rest of the Italian bean salad.
Is Farro Gluten Free?
I’ve read multiple accounts of whether or not farro is gluten free. The term “farro” includes several wheat species including einkorn and emmer. Farro does contain gluten, but it’s not the same as common gluten filled varieties like wheat, rye and barley. However, according to this New York Times article, farro is also easily digested and so low in gluten, that it can often be eaten by people who are normally gluten-intolerant. Hmmm. I know, it’s not really an answer. Obviously if you suffer from Celiac disease or are particularly sensitive to gluten, you should avoid farro, or speak to your healthcare provider for their opinion.
While the farro is cooking and cooling, prep the rest of the ingredients for this Italian summer salad.
Prepping other ingredients for Italian bean salad
- Grate the carrots.
- Thinly slice the red onion. (Note: if you want to take the sting out of the onion slices, soak them in ice water for about 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry before adding to the salad.)
- Chop the sun-dried tomatoes. (Note: try to use sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, it will add another layer of flavor and sweetness to the farro bean salad.)
- Drain the garbanzo beans.
- Chop the fresh tomatoes.
- Cube the fresh mozzarella.
- Slice the kalamata olives.
- Drain the capers.
I was able to complete these tasks plus make the dressing in the 15 minutes it took for the farro to cook and cool.
Ingredients for farro green bean salad dressing
- Dijon Mustard
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- Fresh Parsley
This tangy shallot vinaigrette creates the perfect balance of flavors with the other ingredients. Add all the ingredients (except parsley) to a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. Then stir in the parsley.
Assembling summer farro salad
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the dressing and toss until the ingredients are evenly coated with the vinaigrette.
What does Italian bean and farro salad taste like?
The crisp-tender veggies and chewy farro give this Italian bean salad a wonderful texture and chew. The nuggets of fresh mozzarella and pops of briny olives and capers are like little treasures hidden throughout this hearty dish and sun-dried tomatoes are sweet and chewy. I like garbanzo beans here to add more fiber and protein to this summer farro salad.
Other fun add ins would be…
- Pepperoncini Peppers
- Roasted or Fresh Diced Bell Peppers
- Finely Chopped Kale,
- Frozen Baby Lima Beans (thawed)
- Frozen Baby Oeas (thawed)
- Green Onions
- Fresh herbs like Basil, Mint, Tarragon
We prefer this salad at room temperature or slightly cool, but you can eat it straight from the refrigerator as well.
How long does this summer farro salad last in the refrigerator?
This should keep well in an airtight container for about 5 days.
Can you use it for meal prep?
Absolutely. Just divide the salad into individual serving sizes, cover and refrigerate. If you want to change things up, use last night’s leftovers by adding a few slices or chunks of chicken, pork or shrimp.
More Farro Recipes:
- Lemony Farro and Chicken Salad
- Farro Pomegranate Kale Salad
- Warm Apple Butternut Farro
- Grilled Vegetables with Feta and Farro
- Nicoise Farro Salad
More whole grain salad recipes:
- Savory Pickled Cherry Cold Rice Salad
- Healthy Pearl Barley and Kale Chopped Salad
- Mediterranean Khorasan Wheat Salad
- Asian Wild Rice Salad
- Shaved Raw Brussels Sprouts Cranberry Quinoa Salad
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Farro, Tomato and Green Bean Salad
- 1 cup farro cooked according to package directions
- 1/2 lb green beans trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced (about 1/4 of an onion)
- 1 medium carrot peeled and grated
- 8 ounces garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
- 1 medium ripe tomato seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives seeded and halved
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella diced
- 1 small shallot peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- Fill a large saucepan about 2/3 full with water and bring it to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice and water and set aside. Add the cut green beans to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes or until beans are crisp tender. Transfer the beans with a spider or slotted spoon to the ice water to immediately stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Add the farro to the water the beans were in and cook according to the time on the package directions. When farro is cooked, transfer the farro to a fine mesh sieve and drain all the water from the grains. Place the farro back into the same pan they were cooked in and set aside with the lid off to cool.
- Drain the green beans and blot them dry with a paper towel.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Add the cooled farro, red onion, carrots, garbanzo beans, chopped tomato, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers and mozzarella. Toss well to combine.
- Combine all ingredients, but the parsley in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whisk until dressing is emulsified. Stir in the chopped parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well until fully dressed. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
**If you are making the salad ahead, wait until you're ready to serve before adding the herbs. This will keep them bright and fresh. Salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. I usually add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving just to amplify the citrus notes.
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