Ancient Grains Salad

Aliza Green, Philadelphia-based chef and culinary tour leader, presents new recipes to try.


Ancient Grains & Lentil Salad

In this hearty wintertime make-ahead salad, I combine farro, or emmer wheat, which comes from the mountainous regions of Tuscany and Abruzzo in Italy, with barley, a grain that thrive in regions with cold weather, and firm, nutty French green lentils. Spelt is a related type of wheat mostly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Shredded Tuscan kale, also known as Dinosaur kale, Lacinato kale, or cavalo nero (black cabbage in Italian) has deep green, wrinkled leaves and a flavor between spinach and cabbage. Toasted pumpkin seeds and dried currants add crunch and a bit of sweetness.
Course Salad
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 10 people



  • 1 pound farro
  • 1 pound pearled barley
  • 1 pound French green lentils
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 3 carrots peeled
  • 1 onion peeled and cut into thirds
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ bunch cilantro shredded
  • ½ bunch mint shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale ribs removed, leaves shredded and boiled in salted water till tender
  • 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup zante currants
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Garnishes: halved grape tomatoes & shredded carrots

Yogurt Topping:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 small clove garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


  • Cook farro, barley, and French lentils separately in salted boiling water with 1 rib celery, 1 carrot, ½ an onion, and 2 garlic cloves in each pot until cooked through but not mushy. Drain well and allow to cool.
  • Combine the farro, barley, and lentils. Add the cilantro, mint, green onions, pumpkin seeds (reserving some for garnish), currants, about half the shredded kale, most of the lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
  • Mix the yogurt, cumin and honey and reserve.
  • Make a bed of shredded kale mixed with the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and shredded carrots. Drizzle with the (optional) Yogurt Topping. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Bring to room temperature before serving.


The salad is vegan, but an optional cumin-scented Yogurt Topping adds creamy tang.
Keyword Barley, Farro, French green lentils, Lentils, Make-Ahead, Salad, Tuscan kale, Vegan, Winter Salad


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