Recipe: Farro Bowl with Crispy Salmon and Toasted Sesame Spinach

updated Feb 3, 2020
Farro Bowl with Crispy Salmon and Toasted Sesame Spinach
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(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

Every time I cook farro, I kick myself for waiting so long to revisit it. Nutty and chewy, it’s a subtle but sophisticated grain, making it perfect to serve as a backdrop to strong flavors without getting lost. That’s exactly what it does in this grain bowl, proudly bearing the weight of crispy seared salmon and saucy sesame spinach.

(Image credit: update)

While the flavors are complex, the prep is surprisingly simple. I used spinach and salmon from the freezer and even used previously cooked and frozen farro — the only component that didn’t come from my freezer was the radish. It’s not what you’d typically call a freezer meal, but it has all the same convenience.

The Freezer Factor

Last year I purchased a share of wild Alaskan salmon, and I’m always delighted that when I reach for it for a speedy weeknight meal, I get to enjoy something that feels so luxurious. I’m also thankful for frozen spinach to hold me over until spring’s overwintered spinach hits my market. By then I’ll be spoiled by not having to triple rinse the greens to ensure there’s no grit.

Farro Bowl with Crispy Salmon and Toasted Sesame Spinach

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

  • 1 cup

    dry farro

  • 2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon

    sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)

  • 10 ounces

    frozen chopped spinach

  • 2 tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame seeds

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1 pound

    salmon, fresh or thawed from frozen

  • 4

    radishes, thinly sliced

  • Salt


  1. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the farro and sauté until the grains are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and increase the heat to high until the water comes to a boil. Stir the farro once, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess water and return to the pot until ready to assemble the bowls.

  2. Add the sunflower oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the spinach and cook until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.

  3. Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt. Add the butter and remaining tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet. Once the oil is hot and the butter is melted, add the salmon. Cook, without moving, until the sides are cooked just past halfway up the fillets. Flip and cook, without moving, until the sides are fully cooked, then remove from the heat for medium-rare.

  4. Divide the farro among four bowls. Top each with an equal amount of the sesame spinach, salmon, and radish.

Recipe Notes

You can cook and even freeze the farro ahead of time. Just thaw and reheat over medium heat, adding a splash of water if necessary.