Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
4 servings (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups salad and about 3 tablespoons dressing)

Farro is an ancient grain from Tuscany available at Mediterranean and specialty foods stores. Substitute wheat berries or spelt, but cook them a little longer than the farro.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2

Wrap beets in foil. Bake at 375° for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool; peel and thinly slice.

Step 3

Place farro and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until farro is tender. Drain and cool. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Step 4

Arrange 1 1/2 cups watercress on a serving platter; top with half of farro, 1/4 cup onion, and half of sliced beets. Repeat layers with remaining 1 1/2 cups watercress, remaining farro, remaining 1/4 cup onion, and remaining beets. Sprinkle top with cheese.

Step 5

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and remaining ingredients; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture evenly over salad.

Ratings & Reviews

Fredsemail's Review

August 23, 2014

Lynda09's Review

December 08, 2013
I only made the dressing and used it on a spinach salad. I doubled this recipe for all ingredients except the garlic. 2 cloves for what was about 1/4 cup of dressing seemed an awful lot so I figured it would be okay doubling the rest but leave the garlic at the 2 cloves and maybe it would be ok…based on noone else mentioned it in reviews. It was still entirely too much garlic that it over powered the taste of the dressing. I like garlic but maybe my garlic was just much more pungent than the others who reviewed this…?! If I make this dressing recipe again, I will use 1/2 clove garlic for a single batch of it…1 small clove if I double the recipe.

WestfieldMom2's Review

April 23, 2013
Great recipe and only stumbled upon it in the April 2013 issue. Glad I looked it up on the web!! I have never worked with farro before and certainly never made poppy-anything before. The dressing is awesome...the salad a hit. Served it with Grilled Salmon but the salad itself is a meal -- if there are veggie-only people out there - this would be a great meal on its own!!

bjane1's Review

July 26, 2012
Delicious salad! As others have mentioned, the dressing was fantastic. I used feta rather than goat cheese and olive oil for the walnut oil. I will definitely make this again.

Teagal's Review

June 26, 2012

sprky182's Review

June 30, 2011
Delicious, filling, and healthy. I found farro at Whole Foods and it had a great chewy texture, similar to wheat berries or barley. The combination of beets, goat cheese, farro, greens, and the dressing were great. Loved it!

Tantily's Review

June 19, 2011
Awesome. The bite of the watercress paired perfectly with the sweet beats, chewy grains and goat cheese. I substituted spelt for the farro and reduced the oil in the dressing.

GayleR's Review

December 27, 2010
Good poppy seed dressing. I substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream since I didn't have any.

Jaimichelle's Review

September 22, 2010
This was a really wonderful salad and the dressing is fabulous. I used barley instead of farro since that's what I had. The barley was a nice chewy texture in contrast with the goat cheese and the beets. I will definitely make this again.

detailaddict's Review

September 20, 2010
Once again CL comes through with an alternative to the mid-week humdrum. The dressing alone garners five stars, and the combination of other flavors with the farro is tasty and surprisingly filling. Both home-roasted beets (so easy) and watercress were strangers to my table but are now on the list of possibilities in meal-planning. My only alterations were to use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in the dressing, with some powdered lecithin to emulsify the oil. I would certainly serve this to company or make this again for just the two of us.