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Farro Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Farro Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Meet my new favorite farro salad recipe! It’s a colorful, meal prep friendly salad recipe made with grapes, fresh arugula, pickled red onions and toasted pistachios, tossed with a zesty homemade Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing! Sweet, tangy, citrusy, and full of plant-based goodness.

I love making hearty, colorful salads like this Vegan Chopped Salad and and my Cauliflower Shawarma Salad, but this Spring I cannot get enough of this incredible farro salad!

My recipe was inspired by a delicious and healthy salad I had in this vlog at La Pecora Bianca in NYC. There’s several locations throughout Manhattan and while it’s not a vegan restaurant, they have a lot of interesting salads that can be veganized by simply removing the cheese.

This salad comes with ricotta but I ordered it without the dairy and it was still utterly divine. Fresh and tangy, but hearty too thanks to the plump, cooked farro and nutty, toasted pistachios. I loved the way the juicy grapes complimented the zesty lemon dressing and the fresh arugula added a nice savory, peppery quality to balance out some of the sweetness. It’s all tied together with punchy pickled red onions and the result is one of those special salads that makes you appreciate how incredible plant-based meals can be.

Ingredients to Make Farro Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

  • Cooked Farro
  • Fresh Arugula
  • Red Grapes
  • Shelled Pistachios
  • Picked Red Onions
  • Lemon Vinaigrette

What Makes Restaurant Salads Taste So Good?

Ever taste a salad at a restaurant and wonder how they make it taste so good? I definitely have – and I’ve even gone as far as to buy the dressing to try to recreate that same delicious experience at home – but what I’ve learned is that it’s not just a good dressing that makes these salads taste so incredible. Restaurant chefs know that each ingredient contributes its own unique flavor to the dish and it’s the combination of all of these ingredients together that makes the salad so special.

In this case, the Lemon Vinaigrette is tasty, but it’s amplified by the fresh grape juice inside each grape as well as the sweet, punchy/ tanginess of the pickled red onions. These ingredients harmonize well with the slight nuttiness of the farro and earthiness of the fresh arugula. My theory is that it’s a magical combination of delicious ingredients rather than one specific component, and this farro salad recipe is a great example of that!

How to Cook Farro

I recommend cooking the farro according to the package directions with the addition of 1 tsp of kosher salt and 2 dried bay leaves. If you have the kind that cooks in 10 minutes, you’ll likely be instructed to add 2 cups of farro to 5 1/2 cups of water to a saucepan with a lid. Add the salt and bay leaf and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it continue cooking (covered) for 5-6 minutes. Then simply drain the water and fluff with a fork.

How to Make Pickled Red Onions

There are many ways to make pickled red onions, but this is an easy way! Just combine all of the ingredients in a container and chill in the fridge. The full recipe is on the recipe card below, but here’s an overview to give you an idea:

You will need:

  • Red Onion
  • White Rice Vinegar (I like this one)
  • Water
  • Kosher Salt (this one is my go to)
  • Maple Syrup

To make pickled red onions, simply thinly slice the onions and place them in a container with a lid. Add the remaining ingredients, give it a shake to combine, and then chill overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. The onions will turn a bright pinkish-purple when they’re ready!

Note: this keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.

How to Make Lemon Vinaigrette

This zippy lemon vinaigrette salad dressing is delicious and only takes about 2 minutes to make!

You will need:

  • Extra Virgin Olive OIl
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Lemon Zest
  • Salt and Pepper

Again, simply combine the ingredients in a container with a lid, shake for 30 seconds, and serve!

Note: I find that this dressing doesn’t need any added sweetness because of the grapes and pickled red onions in the salad, but if you’re using it for a different recipe, you might want to add a touch of maple or agave to balance the punchy acidity.


Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, but wait to add the arugula and dressing until ready to serve. This way the greens will stay fresh and the farro won’t absorb all of the dressing (which can lead to a dry salad)

Can I make the dressing ahead of time?

Absolutely. I often make a double batch of the dressing in a glass bottle and keep it in the fridge to use throughout the week. It’s great on many different salads and grain bowls.

What can I use instead of pistachios?

Toasted pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds would work well!

Are green grapes ok?

Yep! But red grapes are sweeter and blend better with the other flavors so that why I like to use those. It’s tiny difference though so just use what you have, it will be delicious no matter what! I was even thinking of trying this recipe with pitted and sliced cherries when they’re in season. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ll let you know it goes when I do🍒

Can I use brown rice instead of farro?

Yes. It will be slightly different but still tasty! Opt for short grain brown rice to mimic the plump, chewy texture of farro.

Would vegan cheese be good in this salad recipe?

Yes! The inspiration for this recipe came from the salad at La Pecora Bianca which was finished with ricotta salada, so I think some crumbled vegan feta would be a great swap! It’s creamy, tangy and salty and would compliment the other ingredients in this salad. Add it in if you like, but I don’t think this salad needs a cheese to be delicious.

Ways to Serve this Salad:

  • As a light lunch, room temp or chilled
  • For dinner topped with roasted chickpeas and vegan feta cheese on top
  • As a side dish – this would be a great alternative to a pasta salad during picnic and BBQ season!
  • As a hearty snack. Pre-portion small the salad into small containers for a great snack to keep you full until dinnertime!

Farro Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Nicole Vranjican
This farro salad is the perfect recipe to try this week! Tangy, refreshing, and full of flavor, it's a healthy way to change up your meal prep routine and try something fun!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


For the Pickled Red Onions

  • ½ large red onion
  • ½ cup white rice vinegar
  • cup water
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup

For the Salad

  • 2 cups farro look for "cooks in 10 mins" on the bag
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios

For the Dressing

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


Make the Red Onions

  • Thinly slice the red onions and place in a container with a lid. Add the vinegar, water, salt, and maple syrup and mix well. Chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight.
    The onions will be bright pink and have a sweet + tangy flavor when they're done marinating.

Make the Farro

  • Pour the farro into a large saucepan with a lid and add 5½ cups of water.
  • Add the salt and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat but leave the pot covered and let sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Then drain any remaining water and fluff the farro with a fork. Set aside to cool. 

Make the Salad Dressing

  • Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, lemon zest, kosher salt and black pepper in a container with a lid. Shake for 30 seconds and set aside until ready to serve.
    See notes below about adding sweetener to the dressing*

Assemble the Salad

  • Slice the grapes and add them to a large mixing bowl. Then, roughly chop the pistachios and toast them in a dry frying pan set to medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Next, place the pistachios on the bowl along with the cooled farro, arugula, and 1 cup of the pickled red onions. Add half of the dressing and toss to combine.
  • Serve with more dressing on top as needed and enjoy!


I find that the Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing doesn’t need any added sweetness because of the grapes and pickled red onions in this salad, but if you’re using it for a different salad recipe, you might want to add a touch of maple or agave to balance the punchy acidity. Add a little at a time until it tastes good to you and enjoy! 
Keyword salad, salad dressing

Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

Find me on: Instagram


  1. Paula
    March 6, 2024 / 1:06 am

    Very close to the one served in La pécora Bianca!!! I loved it!!!!

    • Nicole Vranjican
      March 9, 2024 / 10:22 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it!! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

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