This Roast Vegetable Salad with Farro is an elegant, colorful dish that simply bursts with flavor—and an entertaining superstar.
I’ve been making variations of this warm vegetable salad with farro for at least 20 years. Back when I first ‘went vegetarian,’ friends shared all sorts of recipes with me. Among them was a lovely salad made with orzo pasta, feta cheese and a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette that quickly became a favorite.
My latest whole food, plant-based, no oil adaptation—roasted vegetables salad with farro—is an elegant, colorful dish that simply bursts with flavor. With its bite-sized chunks of roasted veggies, salty and briney Kalamata olives (a perfect sub for the feta!), refreshing herbs, mildly biting scallions, rich pine nuts, and bright lemon—each bite of one ingredient leaves you yearning for the next.
Vegan farro salad with roasted vegetables is one of those dishes people might call ‘accidentally’ vegan. Sure, it happens to be vegan, but no one’s gonna think, ‘Hey, I’m eating VEGAN food over here!’
It’s not quite so accidentally whole food, plant-based, no oil compliant, as the dressing took a bit tweaking. But aquafaba and Dijon mustard pair so well with the fresh lemon juice and zest here, no one will miss the olive oil.
How to Make a Roasted Veggie Salad
While there may be a lot of components in this salad, each step is pretty simple, making this recipe beginner friendly. If you can roast a sheet pan of veggies, cook grains and whisk up a dressing—you’ve got this. The biggest risk is probably burning those spendy little pine nuts. Just keep the heat nice and low, watch the darlings closely, and all will be well.
This salad comes together in 3 basic steps: first, you roast your veggies. Here we use gorgeous eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper. But you could switch it up and use whatever’s in season–just pick veggies that will cook together in about the same amount of time, or put the slower cooking ingredients in the oven first.
Too hot to turn on the oven? No worries–just toss your veggies on the grill in a grill basket. In fact, grilling will only make your salad that much more delicious!
Second, you get your grain going. I used farro here, but really any whole grain like quinoa, brown rice millet, amaranths etc. will do. Finally, you whip up a light and fresh dressing to your salad. Just toss it all together and serve right at room temp. That’s it!
Why I Love this Roast Vegetable Salad
One reason I love this roasted veggies salad is that it’s an entertaining superstar. Since it’s best served at room temperature, sitting out on a buffet or even outdoors at a picnic or cookout doesn’t faze it much. And it’s supremely forgiving if you have to haul it to a party.
It’s great in any season—I roast the vegetables in the oven when the weather is cold and grill them outside when it’s warm. And it’s one of those practically indestructible salads you can safely dress all at once, with no fear of wilted leftovers. In fact, I sometimes think it tastes even better the next day.
This salad is also a balanced, one-dish, whole food, plant-based meal. It has an abundance of vegetables and fresh herbs, just the right amount of grain and legumes, and a little bit of fat to help our bodies absorb all its nutrients. Eat this salad and you can check off at least three or four boxes on Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist!
If you like this whole food, plant-based recipe, you might also like my ‘Eat Your Greens’ Pasta Salad, Simple Chickpea Salad with Lemon Aquafaba Dressing, Sweet & Spicy Grilled Eggplant, Crispy Spicy Sushi Bowls, and Watermelon & Forbidden Rice Salad
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Roast Vegetable Salad with Farro
- 1 medium eggplant peeled and 1-inch diced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper 1-inch diced
- 1 medium zucchini 1-inch diced
- 1/2 red onion peeled and 1-inch diced
- 8 oz farro (NOTE: Farro is not gluten-free. Sub a certifed GF whole grain, if desired)
- 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans drained with LIQUID RESERVED
- 4 scallions diced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Dressing
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice + zest (about 1 large lemon) + more for serving
- 1/4 cup aquafaba (reserved garbanzo bean liquid)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch of cayenne
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, toss the eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, and red onion in a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the vegetables evenly onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until tender and browned, flipping after 15 minutes. When cooked, set aside to cool.
- In a medium sauce pan, cover the farro with 3 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 25-30, or until just cooked but not mushy (al dente). (Or, use the brown rice setting of a rice cooker.) Drain the farro (there will likely be some excess cooking water), rinse with cool water, and gently shake out any excess liquid.
- To make the dressing, in a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, aquafaba, Dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper. Whisk well, and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a dry saute pan over medium low heat, toast the pine nuts for about 5 minutes or until golden brown
To Assemble the Salad
- To a very large bowl, add the farro, the cooled vegetables, and the garbanzo beans, and toss gently to combine. Add the green onion, pine nuts, Kalamata olives, basil and mint. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Season with seat salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Squeeze half of a fresh lemon (or more, to taste) over the salad, and serve at room temperature.