ffwd: wheat berry and tuna salad


I think I remember making a tuna salad with lentils for French Fridays with Dorie around this time last year. This time around, the week’s selection is a composed salad featuring a wheat berry and tuna salad. Tuna = Independence Day must be a Dorista theme.

As best I can tell, wheat berries and farro are interchangeable, though not exactly the same thing. I couldn’t discern the actual difference from my reading, other than farro coming from Italy and typically being more expensive. Maybe it’s the actual varietal of the wheat. That said, I spied quite affordable “10-minute farro” for sale at Trader Joe’s. Dorie mentioned a quick-cooking version being available in France, so I decided to try out my find instead of continuing to scout for wheat berries. Also, I had tried out a different farro salad recipe last week (which didn’t come out so well, so I won’t bother to share), and the farro took FOREVER to cook. In the middle of our current heat wave, the 10-minute cook version was perfect.

This is ideal hot weather food. The only cooked parts are the grains and the hard-boiled eggs. I cooked both of these the night before when the air was slightly cooler. I also mixed up the mustardy dressing while I waited.

The farro is tossed with the dressing, the tuna, and a variety of colorful vegetables. I went with what I had: a stalk of fennel (plus the fronds) instead of celery, some radishes (instead of an apple), scallions (instead of onion), and the called for green pepper. The salad had a festive confetti look.

I do have to say, I don’t understand chunk tuna. I usually use solid white or albacore. I was out of tuna, so I just bought what the recipe called for. When I opened the can, it reminded me of cat food. There weren’t any distinguishable chunks, just some mushy tuna. Maybe it was the brand I bought. It certainly wasn’t like what I was expecting. Fortunately, it tasted fine in the salad.

This composed salad starts with a bed of salad greens tossed with some olive oil. I planted 24 heads of lettuce in my vegetable garden, and they all seem to be ready at once. Right now, anything with salad greens is a good plan for me. The greens are topped with the wheat berry and tnna salad. Finally, halved cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, and hard-boiled eggs garnish the top.

This was a gorgeous summer lunch. I made individual platings for the two of us, but, for a bigger crowd, I can see serving this on a platter for everyone to dig in and take what they like. As with so many of the recipes we try in this group, this is another springboard for an infinite stream of similar salads. Just choose your favorite grain salad and toppings and you have a beautiful meal.

To see what other Doristas thought of this recipe, check out their posts here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

For those of you enjoying a long holiday weekend to celebrate the 4th of July, I hope you are having fun. If it’s hot where you are, I hope you are staying cool and well-hydrated. For everyone else, Happy Weekend!


Posted on 5 July 2013, in French Fridays with Dorie, Summer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Helyn Benjamin

    Hi.finally have Internet. New carrier, hopefully it lasts. Salad looks great. Have let’s do lunch again this year, this might be a good dish to serve. Nice breeze from ocean. Hope it cools off for you love xxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad

  2. I guess canned tuna liberates us from the heat of the kitchen, hence an independence of sorts????

    Your liberated salad looks totally refreshing.

    It is insanely hot here (for us) – its 95 right now with 75-80% humidity. Us “mountain folk” aren’t used to this :-) But at least it isn’t raining – the continued heavy rain has created a lot of flooding issues here, so I am so happy to see the sun today – no matter how hot it is…

  3. Yes this would be fab as a “to share” platter! Happy weekend!

  4. I thought that farro looked like the closest match to wheat berries too, as there were no wheat berries for sale here. You are right in that this salad can be varied easily to personal taste – aka Cher’s “grain salad with protein”, LOL.

  5. LOL…I didn’t realize we had a tuna theme going for the 4th. Your salad looks perfect…and I would have been happy to skip the eggs :) I was tempted to use fresh tuna, but went with the recipe…and loved it. Thank goodness my tuna didn’t look like cat food…yikes.

  6. Betsy, Your salad looks lovely! I love that you were able to find quick cooking farro…I will have to look for it next time I’m at TJ’s. I never use anything other than solid white meat tuna…you are so right about the chunk tuna…I just won’t buy it anymore. I have started to use Italian tuna…beautiful! Always solid packed, and never looks like cat food! LOL! Have a great day!

  7. How nice you were able to use lettuce from your garden! We were happy for a cool dinner too, and enjoyed this salad. Yours looks delicious!

  8. This recipe was begging to be played with and I think that most of us did at least a bit. I forgot about the eggs until the last minute and then just ended up leaving them out because I was too lazy to even boil a simple egg!

  9. Betsy, your farro salad looks wonderful – this was a fabulous recipe, I agree and although I am running very late with comments this week (sorry for that) I wanted to let you know that I really like the way you dressed your healthy and delicious farro salad with all those wonderful veggies and eggs and tuna! I already made it twice since last Friday for two school end parties with different veggies and herbs and have not tired of the recipe so far.
    Before making this salad, I had to do quite e bit of research, no one I asked had ever heard of “wheat berries” ever here…now that the whole City of Bonn knows the ingredient I searched for, I know that farro and wheat berries are just from different types of wheat plants. Farro comes from wheat varieties grown in warmer climates, while wheat berries come from colder-weather wheat..

    Have a lovely Tuesday!

    P.S.: If you are still interested, I posted the Boterkoek (Dutch butter cake) recipe with the spelt flower yesterday)

  10. Yeah, I’m not a big chunk tuna fan either and I think farro sounds pretty interchangable with wheatberries. Great looking salad and yes, I agree fantastic hot weather food,,, which it has been super hot here in NY.

  11. What a beautiful dish. The picture alone cools and calms things down. I am so jealous you have your own lettuce.

  12. I’ve never understood the difference between farro and wheat berries either. Great to know about the quick-cooking farro at TJs. I’m going to have to try it…I laughed at your 24 heads of lettuce that are all ready at once. We’re often in that situation. One of the challenges of gardening!

Thanks for visiting! Leave me a comment to let me know what you think. I love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: