Saturday, July 14, 2012

Farro, Date and Asparagus Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

The days of the simple iceberg salad are gone. Don’t hear me wrong, I still love an iceberg salad with handmade blue cheese dressing, tomatoes and crumbled bacon. I should clarify by saying that the evolution of salads is far more creative. From the bright caprese salad to quinoa to shaved vegetable salads – the variations today are imaginative, inspiring and flavorful.

A couple weeks ago my friend Helen and I ventured to the San Francisco Ferry Building on a Saturday to reap the rewards of the farmers market and then headed back on the bay bridge towards home. A detour was in order to Berkeley’s fourth street shopping mecca. Along with shopping, several wonderful restaurants adorn the streets. We had often passed Zut and never ventured in. Our stop was quite fruitful. We enjoyed their Farro salad that was adorned with dates, golden raisins, asparagus and walnuts.

It was such a tasty delight that I knew I needed to replicate at home. Here is my version of this lovely salad from Zut!....... Enjoy!!

Farro, Date and Asparagus Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings

1 ½ C. Farro
10 Madjool Dates, pitted and chopped
2/3 C. Raisins
16 Asparagus stalks, trimmed, grilled and cut into one inch pieces
1 C. Italian flat leaf parsley, rough chop leaves only
1 C. Walnuts, rough chop
2 T. Mint leaves, minced
1 T. Lemon zest

Heat 4 cups of water in a medium pot and add the farro to the water when boiling. Add a couple teaspoons of salt. Cook on medium  to medium high heat for about 10 minutes with the lid off until farro is tender. Drain in a colander. Set aside to cool.

Take the asparagus stalks and trim the bottom about an inch. Brush with a bit of olive oil and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes and remove from the heat. Let cool and cut into one inch pieces.

In a large bowl, add all of the above ingredients and toss. Add the vinaigrette and toss together. Taste for the addition of salt and pepper. Garnish with additional mint and lemon zest if desired. Serve.

Mint Vinaigrette

¾ C. Olive oil
3 T. Mint leaves, minced
3 T. Lemon juice
½ t. Salt
1 t. Pepper

Add all of the above ingredients to a mason jar and shake well. Let stand for 30 minutes for the flavors to develop.


  1. Yum, Lisa! What a wonderful weekend you had with farmer's market, shopping and this yummy salad. I love when something is so delicious I want to come straight home and replicate it. Great job on your salad, a must try.

  2. Looks really good :D


  3. Shopping at the Ferry Building farmers market is always such a treat. What a delicious salad with the fruits of your shopping and dining! Happy Saturday!

  4. I'm so glad you reinvented the salad from Zut for us. The sweetness of the dates with the crisp, fresh asparagus and chewy farro is a flavor combination I can't wait to enjoy myself! Hope you're having another delicious weekend :)

  5. Sounds very tasty! Love the combination!

  6. I enjoy going to farmers' market myself, especially when you can find such beautiful produce to make an exciting salad like this. Have a great weekend!

  7. Hi Lisa! This is my kind of salad;-) How fun that you've recreated one of your farmers market favorites for us;-) I find my trips to the farmers market very inspirational as well, just love this time of year. Have a wonderful weekend;-)

  8. I haven't been to the 4th street for a long time, at least a couple of years. I am sure it has more nice restaurants there. This salad looks nice - I'm always impressed by great cooks who can recreate the same food from the restaurant!

  9. This looks wonderful! I just bought some Farro too so I can't wait to try this!

  10. You're so right, Lisa. Salads have gotten much more creative over the last decade or so. Now when I eat out I expect to see at least several salad options instead of the standard Caesar or Green Salad. This one is calling my name!

  11. Wow, I was craving faro today, I kid you not! I agree that salads have come a long way, and thank goodness. I just love the combination of dates and walnut and mint with the faro and asparagus. Delicious!!!

  12. it's been a while when I last had an ice-berg salad. With all the wonderful combos, like this one, coming up every day it's so hard to stick with a blue cheese topped ice-berg lettuce wedge.

  13. This looks like an incredible salad! I have never had Farro before, but I really want to try it now!

  14. I love everything about this! Medjool dates are one of my favorite ingredients. All of these flavors sound like they'll compliment each other perfectly.

  15. What a delightful looks so perfect for a lazy summer day :)
    Hope you are having a great start to your weekend!


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