A Squared: Spinach & Farro Salad with Roasted Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spinach & Farro Salad with Roasted Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette

If you haven't already figured out here, I'm a Planner with a capital P. I meticulously plan out vacations, had about a dozen spreadsheets going when planning my wedding, and pore over our finances to plan for the condo we just bought and the retirement I hope to one day enjoy. I've also been planning out our weekly dinner menus for the past several years. It helps me stay organized and on budget and prevents us (most of the time) from throwing our hands up on a Thursday night and just ordering pizza when we have no food in the house.

One thing I am so bad at though, is planning out my weekly lunches. I don't know why that is, but it's like I have a mental block about shopping for and preparing a lunch to bring to the office every day and then I end up scrambling for leftovers, unsatisfying random combinations of foods, or resorting to pricey lunchtime takeout. I dropped the ball again with planning a lunch menu last week, but was determined not to result to the aforementioned randomness or takeout. So, I scoured my kitchen and created a salad with the contents that I found there. The final product was delicious, filling, and quote healthy.

Farro is a wonderful grain to use in salads. It has a great chewy texture and nutty flavor and it doesn't get mushy when combined with a dressing and being refrigerated for a few days. I combined the farro with finely diced bell peppers and chopped fresh spinach-- both of which hold up in a salad as well-- and some toasted sliced almonds for protein and crunch. The star here is really the dressing though: a balsamic vinaigrette made with roasted tomatoes and red onions. Some of the tomatoes burst in the roasting process, yielding flavorful juice that becomes the base of this dressing. The flavor is deep and tangy and it's a great addition to this salad or to any salad. Topped off with a little crumbled goat cheese, this is a perfectly balanced and satisfying lunch. Mission: accomplished.


  • 10 oz. grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. dry parsley
  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Pour onto baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until cook enough to handle.

Carefully pour the contents of the baking sheet back into the bowl, including any liquid. Add remaining olive oil, vinegar, honey, and parsley. Stir to combine, pressing gently on some of the softened tomatoes to release some of the juices.

In a separate large bowl, add farro, spinach, bell peppers, and almonds. Pour the tomato vinaigrette over the top and toss gently to combine. Add crumbled goat cheese to the top and serve.

A Squared


  1. I'm the same way with lunches! Unless it's a pot of soup, I usually rely on leftovers. I'll have to try this salad!

  2. Oh yum! Farro is one of my favorite grains because of its chewy texture! Definitely making this salad soon.


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