Greek Salad with Farro and Kalamata Olive Tapenade

September 21, 2021

As everyone settles down into their usual schedule for the fall, it can be fun to incorporate our favorite Greek flavors into simple to prepare dishes we can enjoy for lunch, dinner or a snack. Try the following salad with farro, or wheat berries. Farro in English can refer to three species of hulled wheat: spelt (Triticum spelta), emmer (Triticum dicoccum), and einkorn (Triticum monococcum). It is boiled and then can be used as you would other grains like rice or bulgur wheat as a side dish, in soups, or mixed with veggies in a salad. Most Greeks will probably recognize it as the main ingredient of koliva. In Italy, emmer is the variety most widely grown and considered superior to the other two, according to the New York Times which referred to farro as “the little grain that could.” An excellent source of iron, magnesium, and fiber, farro can be soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time. The Kalamata olive tapenade is delicious spread on toasted pita triangles as an appetizer or to add a kick of Greek flavor to sandwiches.

Greek Salad with Farro

1 1/2 cups farro

4 cups water

1 teaspoon Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt, or to taste

1/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup diced tomato

1 cup diced cucumber

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup crumbled feta Dodonis

Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Rinse the farro with cool water and then drain. Place the farro in a pot with the water to cover the farro by at least one inch, adding water, if needed. If preferred, set aside to soak overnight, about 6-8 hours. When ready to cook, drain the soaking water and refill the pot with fresh, cold water. Add the 1 teaspoon olive oil and the sea salt. Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until tender, about 35 minutes or about 20 minutes for farro that has been soaked overnight. Drain the farro and set aside to cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Whisk the 1/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, oregano, dill, mint, and garlic together in a large bowl. Add the tomato, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, feta, and farro. Stir together until completely coated in dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Keep any leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons capers

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

Greek sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Pulse a few times to mince the garlic cloves in a blender or food processor. Add the olives, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil and blend until finely chopped. Taste and then season with salt and pepper as preferred. Serve with toasted pita triangles or as a topping for sandwiches.


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