Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado

Roasted cauliflower and farro salad with feta and avocado - cookieandkate.com

I have a bunny problem. You see, in late January, I moved from a busy shopping area to a sleepy Kansas neighborhood that I will henceforth refer to as Bunnyville. Spring is coming into full force here in Bunnyville—the grass is getting greener by the day and the trees are coming back to life in brilliant shades of pink, purple and yellow. The sun is shining. I feel like I’m living in a scene from Sleeping Beauty.

cauliflower and sundried tomatoes

And the bunnies! They are everywhere. Cute cotton-tailed bunnies bounce through my backyard, sharing a seemingly symbiotic existence with the abundant neighborhood squirrels. I’ve seen as many as five in my yard at one time. So what’s the problem here, you ask? Well, the problem is that my sweet sidekick’s canine instincts switch into high gear every time she spots a bunny.

Cookie is fast. Fortunately, so far, the bunnies have been even faster. They bound across the yard to the nearest exit hole while Cookie chases after them like a rabid hound. I’m concerned that Cookie will catch up to a bunny one of these days. Then, I’ll have to confront the fact that my puppy dog is a coldblooded killer. Cue the “Circle of Life” theme song from The Lion King.

lemons

Another potential bunny issue? I want to grow a garden in my backyard this year. If those bunnies go after my greens and tomatoes, they won’t be so cute any more. I imagine them nibbling away on my lettuce, pausing to cackle in sheer delight.

My friend suggested that I buy a commercial blend of soil and bunny blood to keep them away, but bunny blood?! It sounds so barbaric, so Watership Down. Maybe I’m just a big sissy about all of this stuff. Maybe this explains why I don’t eat meat. Who knows.

roasted cauliflower and feta

For the record, there were no bunnies involved in the making of this salad. It’s definitely not “rabbit food,” either. It’s a hearty salad I’ve had in mind since last summer, after I encountered a roasted cauliflower and farro salad in La Jolla.

I just happened to be in San Diego at the same time as my parents. My friend and I met up with them for lunch at George’s, an unassuming restaurant with a faded, burgundy awning over the entrance. We walked inside to discover an incredible view—the restaurant is built into the side of a cove that overlooks a sparkling blue ocean. It all seemed surreal since I’m accustomed to greeting my parents at home in flat, landlocked, red dirt Oklahoma.

My friend and I were feeling a little rough after a late night out (I’m wayyy too old for tequila shots), but that cauliflower salad brought me back to life. When I recreated it at home, I added some sun-dried tomatoes and greens to my version and it turned out rather spectacularly.

Avocado and greens

I really love the combination of warm, garlicky farro with caramelized, roasted cauliflower and salty feta and olives. Feel free to change it up, though. Cooked chickpeas would be a nice addition, as would a handful of chopped parsley, chopped red onions or freshly toasted pine nuts. Top your plate with a fried egg for extra protein. You could roast broccoli instead of cauliflower and skip the olives if you’re not into them. This would definitely be a great salad to pack for lunch next week, too!

farro salad

Before you go, I thought I’d point out the newest addition in my sidebar, labeled KATE RECOMMENDS. It highlights my latest favorite cookbook or kitchen tool, and I intend to update it weekly. Right now, it features a brilliant new vegetarian cookbook called Feast by Sarah Copeland. The publisher sent me a copy and I have since dog-eared almost every page.

If you click on that sidebar link to shop on Amazon, Amazon will give me a small percentage of your total purchase (like 6 percent) instead of keeping it for themselves. I’m working hard to make a living off this blog, so every little bit helps! Thank you in advance for your support.

roasted cauliflower farro saladRoasted cauliflower and farro salad with sundried tomatoes and olives - cookieandkate.comRoasted cauliflower and farro salad with feta and avocado recipe - cookieandkate.com

5.0 from 6 reviews
Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A warm and filling farro and caramelized cauliflower salad, featuring Greek flavors like feta, kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Greens and avocado round it out into a full meal. This salad would pack great for lunch!
Ingredients
Roasted cauliflower
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Light sprinkle fine-grain sea salt
Garlicky farro
  • 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Everything else
  • 15 pitted kalamata olives, some halved lengthwise and some sliced into small rounds
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled (a heaping half cup)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about ½ lemon's worth)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 handfuls leafy greens (spring greens, spinach or arugula are all good choices)
Instructions
  1. To roast the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil, red pepper flakes and a light sprinkle of sea salt. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack, turning halfway, until the cauliflower is tender and golden on the edges.
  2. To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed farro with at least three cups water (enough water to cover the farro by a couple of inches). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy. (Pearled farro will take around 15 minutes, unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes.) Drain off the excess water and mix in two teaspoons of olive oil, the garlic and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large serving bowl, toss together the roasted cauliflower, cooked farro, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Divide the avocado and greens among four salad plates. Top with a generous amount of the cauliflower and farro salad. Finish the plates with an extra squeeze of lemon juice or drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Serve.
Notes
Recipe inspired by George's at the Cove in La Jolla. Recipes consulted in the making of this recipe: my Greek farro and chickpea salad with herbed yogurt and my curried coconut quinoa with roasted cauliflower and greens. You might also enjoy my Greek salad with broccoli and farro.
Recipe yields 4 generous servings of salad.
Storage suggestions: Leftovers should keep well for several days. Store greens separately and slice the avocado just before serving.
Change it up: If you can't find farro, spelt berries or wheat berries would be great substitutions. You might have to cook those grains longer. Gluten-free eaters, I think this would be good with cooked short-grain brown rice or quinoa instead of farro.
Make it vegan: Skip the feta for a vegan salad.

Comments

  1. says

    I need this salad in my life! I love all of these flavors. Oh man, I hope things go ok in bunnyville. Maybe Google knows something that you can spray on your garden that’s non-toxic and not bunny blood, eek. Also, I keep meaning to tell you that you saved me from dinner disaster recently. I made a tahini dressing recipe from somewhere else and it was a sour, bitter fail. Quickly I came to Cookie+Kate to find a tahini dressing replacement and you saved the day :) Thanks for being awesome.

    • says

      Your comment made me smile, Nicole! Happy to save the day. I’m definitely hoping to find a less extreme solution to the potential garden issue. I just couldn’t bring myself to sprinkle bunny blood on anything! Yikes.

  2. says

    You have bunny problems – I have gopher problems. They are a menace and my dog digs a great big hole trying to get to them. It’s a constant battle (that they usually seem to win). Love the salad – all the pictures are gorgeous.

  3. Natalie says

    Ok this looks yummy! And I actually have all this stuff in tonight … Except farro. What could I substitute with? Quinoa? Short grain brown rice?

      • Natalie says

        Officially my favourite recipe on your site! Took me back to my university post-bar days – we used to frequent this Lebanese restaurant and they made a tomato feta pita. This encompasses all that garlicky, lemony, feta taste explosion! LOVE!

        • says

          Thank you, Natalie! Garlic-lemon-feta combinations are my favorite! I bet you’d also love my Lebanese bean salad with parsley.

  4. says

    Haha! I used to think bunnies were supper cute until I became a farmer. I’m a vegetarian but I’m not above taking care of the issue if they mess with my livelihood! Love this recipe too!! Perfect for spring.

  5. Kate says

    Oh man, your description of the bunny chase is priceless. My family’s terrier lived 13 long years and never snagged her arch nemesis–squirrels! (She did get plenty of geckos when we moved to Florida!)

    This salad is probably not in my gluten and dairy free stars–but that roasted cauliflower certainly is!

    • says

      Cookie dreams about squirrels, I swear. I think this salad would be really great with short-grain brown rice and no feta, if you’re so inclined!

  6. says

    I lived in a house with bunnies everywhere. I tried planting rosemary along the perimeter of the yard since I was told they didn’t like it, but it must not be accurate since their droppings were everywhere, yuk! I guess there were a lot more bunnies than coyotes.

  7. says

    It looks wonderful. I am quite excited about the arrival of spring and eating more salads again. I enjoy lots of soup over the winter, but moving into salads is like changing over your wardrobe for lighter clothes. Everything seems new again.

  8. Marcia says

    Gorgeous salad, gorgeous photo. Coincidentally, I just made a farro salad for the first time the other day! Delicious… and warmed up leftovers made for great veggie tacos the next day! BTW, I live in North County, just up the highway from George’s– fabulous food indeed! We’ve had many lovely meals there. We are so blessed (and frankly spoiled) in this area with some truly excellent restaurants, and many with gorgeous views to boot. If you ever come this way again, I have several good suggestions for you!

  9. says

    I’ve been leaving comments on your blog recently but I double-checked and apparently none of them went through! Which is sad only because you didn’t get filled in on how much one more reader enjoys reading your work :) Maybe you should play Best of Friends from Fox in the Hound rather than Circle of Life while Cookie is out bounding around–maybe Cookie will get the message you’re trying to send that way! Love this salad, by the way.

    • says

      Ala, I found three comments total. I’m sorry if I’ve been missing out on others! Sometimes comments get caught up in my spam filter—I get hundreds and hundreds of spam comments, so I don’t usually find the real ones in the mix. :( Haha, love your Best of Friends suggestion.

  10. says

    Awww all the bunnies sound adorable, but also problematic. Maybe Cookie’s growls will eventually scare them away?

    I love big grain salads like this! Total feel-good food.

  11. says

    WOW! This salad looks and sounds SO good. My mom used to cook with farro all the time, but for some reason I haven’t cooked with it in quite a while, but after reading this I’m going to have to start cooking with it again asap!

    • says

      Thanks, Dervla! I already got a copy of Erin’s book! It’s beautiful. I’m taking the book home with me this weekend so I can spend some quality time with it this weekend.

  12. ciely says

    What a wonderful blog! Found you on Foodgawker and was
    so inspired and excited by your recipes that I clicked on your Amazon, ordered a spiralizer and rushed out the door to buy piles of veggies.
    (now that I know how to make em taste good)

  13. Rachel says

    Boyfriends dog was being uncharacteristically quiet one afternoon and sure enough he had grabbed a baby bunny from a nearby hole. Long story short, the predator won out and I had to keep myself from bursting into tears or getting mad at him because it is the way of the world. Sigh! To be a caring fur parent can be such a stressful job ;) Another fantastic looking salad though, thanks for being you.

  14. says

    OMG! I love in Bunnyville too! It’s a small world, eh? Bunnies I can live with, it’s just the squirrels that cause me to worry. One time I saw 9 squirrels in our backyard. I think they might have been plotting against me or something. OK. Let me find my happy place. Food always works. This salad looks fabulous!

  15. Tina says

    Got a tip from some ladies at the beauty parlor…try human hair around the edge of garden or across the openings they come in. Apparently bunnies are afraid of the human smell and will stay away. Sounds weird, I know, but several people have confirmed to me that it works. Worth a try and no bunny blood involved…just a trip to the salon.

    • says

      Tina, thank you! I’m totally going to try that. Another reader suggested adding Cookie’s hair, too. Between the two of us, we should have plenty of stray hair to scare those bunnies away.

  16. says

    I love farro! So great to see another recipe that highlights such a versatile and delicious grain! (P.S. If you find a way to keep the bunnies out of the garden please share!)

    • says

      Hey thanks, Elizabeth! I haven’t started my garden yet, but a couple of others have suggested lining the garden with hair—like from your hairbrush or your dog’s brush. I’m going to try it!

  17. Maggie says

    OMG… This salad is a game changer! Seriously just made it for dinner (might still be eating it) and I am in heaven. Thanks for the recipe!!

  18. Valerie says

    Hi Kate – Thank you for this delicious and healthy recipe, it’s always refreshing to find a new and unique take on salads. I don’t think I’ll be able to find farro where I live, can you please recommend a substitute?(buckwheat? spelt?)

    • says

      Hi Valerie, I’m sorry I didn’t answer your question sooner. Any similar whole grain, like wheat berries or spelt berries, will be great. You might have to adjust the cooking time a bit.

  19. Sarika says

    Just made this recipe tonight and my husband and I both loved it. I discovered your blog recently and I am excited to try more of your recipes! Thank you Kate!

  20. Becky says

    This salad was fantastic! I substituted the quinoa for farro. I was out of feta, and I threw in some shredded mozzarella cheese. It’s one of my new favorites from all of your great recipes. Yum!

  21. says

    Made this salad for lunch today and it was out of this world! A firm five stars from my husband, even, who would usually be rather suspicious of this sort of thing. I’m ashamed to say that we devoured the whole recipe between us, but we just couldn’t stop eating it. :-)

    • says

      Carol, so glad you both loved the salad! Yes! And no shame in eating all of it in one sitting—salads are good for that!

  22. Jeff says

    Made this for my sister and I tonight and we both really liked it. She definitely said ‘this is so good’ at least four times. I made it as listed and we both felt it wasn’t lacking for anything, but next time I might use garbanzos and pine nuts just to mix things up. Anyway, great recipe, thanks.

  23. Debbie says

    I tried this salad last night and it was absolutely fabulous. I am not a very good cook at all but found this to be super easy -my husband was amazed. I have been wanting to try eating like this for a while but felt overwhelmed -no longer! I’m going to go and check out your other recipes and the book “Feast”…thank you so much for helping us all!

    • says

      Debbie, I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed the recipe, and it sounds like you enjoyed cooking it, too! I have tons of other salad recipes on the blog. “Feast” is so fresh and inspiring, I think you’ll love it. Thanks for commenting!

  24. says

    Hi Kate,

    Made this salad just this morning to take on a picnic & will definitely be saving this recipe for later use.

    I’m so glad we didn’t eat it all so that I can have leftovers of it!

    Well done & thanks!

    Katie

  25. Lauren says

    I made this recipe this week, and it was wonderful! All of the flavors worked together so well, and it’s nice having a new recipe for farro. (I have also discovered 10-minute farro at Trader Joe’s, which dramatically cuts down the cooking time.) I will may add more of the grain next time, and my husband requested more feta, but then again he would eat feta every day if he could…

    • says

      Thank you, Lauren! I’m so glad you both loved the salad. My fridge is overflowing with packages of feta from a sponsored post, wish I could give you some!

  26. Anna says

    Great recipe Kate thank you! Had to use brown rice but was still great. Wonderful way to cook cauliflower too. It’s the first of many recipes I want to try on your website. Anna uk.

  27. Julia says

    Just finished a meal of this salad with my meat loving husband! Not only did it turn out exactly as the pictures, it was delicious! I had to substitute Frekkeh for the farro, but otherwise exactly as described. My hubby said “I could eat this every day”. A hit. It’s been two weeks I have been menu planning from your blog and everything has been a hit (yam and black bean burgers, butternut squash fettuccine, soba sesame slaw….all as described and yummy! Love your blog….real, healthy good food that has me excited about cooking again!

    • says

      Julia, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m delighted that you’re enjoying my recipes so much. I should give Frekkeh a try!

  28. Cara says

    Yum! Another winner! My whole family (extended family!) is addicted to your Greek farro salad, so I’m nut surprised, but this was so good! I made a giant batch and took it to some friends who just had a baby. I added chickpeas and didn’t use olives or avocado, but I can see how they’d be awesome. Only thing was I found it a bit dry, so I made a vinigrette using the oil from the sun dried tomato jar and some red vinegar and dresses the greens before topping them with the farro mix. Perfect! I loved the little zing of vinegar with it.
    Thank you!!

  29. Anne says

    Your salad recipes make me so very happy. Huge hit with this one. I so appreciate using your recipes as inspiration–don’t really like to measure and often substitute, but the principles you preach are so fantastic and flexible. More than once the salad creating confidence you’ve given me has saved me from a less healthy alternative.

    • says

      Thank you very much for your comment, Anne! I’m happy to hear that you appreciate my recipes! Salads are my favorite, and I always try to encourage adaptation and experimentation in my notes and things. Glad to hear it’s working!

  30. Erin says

    I have a question…I don’t like olives, can I omit or replace them? If I replace them, do you have any suggestions? Don’t want to mess up the flavor balance! Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Erin, good question. I would probably just omit them. You might want to add a little more feta to make up for that salty punch. If you like capers, those would be good here.

Leave a comment below:

Your comments make my day. Thank you!

Note: Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: