There has been an incredible heatwave here in BC, so I’ve been busy experimenting with recipes that don’t require me to fire up the oven.  This dreamy summer salad was the happy product of one of those experiments.

Why I push my clients to experiment: 

I encourage a lot of my clients to experiment with new veggies, fruits & grains, and not just for the increase in nutrient density. Boredom is enemy #1 of a sustainable healthy eating style. One of the reasons healthy eating can feel boring is we just don’t know what to do with new or old whole food ingredients! Brown rice, broccoli and chicken breast on a plate just won’t keep most of us interested for long.

Enter this nutrition packed summer salad that is bursting at the seams with bright flavours and an array of textures. Combining farro, an ancient grain with a nutty flavour and chewy texture, with easy to find but flavourful fresh herbs, veggies and local berries makes for an interesting side dish that doubles as an excellent lunch bag staple. This salad stays fresh and crunchy in the fridge for several days and would be a stunning potluck or BBQ dish.

What is Farro? 

Farro is an ancient or traditional species of wheat –so not a good option for those on a gluten free diet but is lower in gluten and higher in fibre, protein, magnesium and iron than modern wheat. I love the texture and flavour it packs in to every dish. Fresh herbs are a great way to get more greens while taking a break from the old standbys, spinach and kale. Being close to their wild ancestors, herbs are also incredibly nutrient dense and a wonderful way to take your diet’s impact up a notch. They also amp up flavour and tend to keep well in a hearty salad like this.


Recipe : Farro Salad with Basil, Blackberries & Lime Dressing

farro salad title


  • 1 cup cooked and cooled farro
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 handfuls basil, sliced
  • 2 small mini cucumbers, diced
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • splash balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder
  • salt
  • pepper


Combine the farro, blackberries, basil and cucumbers in a large bowl.

Zest a whole lime, set aside the zest. Juice ½ of the lime. Reserve the other half for another use.

Combine dressing ingredients; lime juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chilli powder. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle over the salad, add half of the lime zest and toss gently. Garnish with the remaining lime zest and a few extra blackberries (or just start chowing down!).


Join the Discussion!

Share your hearty salads with me on Instagram by tagging @MichelleShepherdRD in your photos, or post them to the Westcoast Nutrition Facebook page.