Farro Salad with Tuna, Cannellini Beans & Watercress

Farro Salad with Tuna, Cannellini Beans & Watercress
I was in the kitchen, patting myself on the back for being such a kind, thoughtful girlfriend as I put this salad together.  The boyfriend has been making an effort to stop buying so many lunches during the workweek and pack something healthy to eat mid-day and there I was, wonderful me, supporting his cause and making a salad to help out.

Then, as I smashed a couple cloves of garlic with a few anchovy fillets to mix with tuna salad, I saw the bigger picture: I’m turning my boyfriend into that guy that brings the world’s stinkiest lunch to the office.  You know the one.  It’s the guy who brings the lunch that funks up the shared refrigerator, the guy you want to avoid after lunch with the garlicky-fish breath, the dude that…

…doesn’t care at all because he’s got a satisfied belly.

This is the type salad that you’ll be dying to dip into come lunch time.  The farro, cannellini beans, and tuna are going to fill you up for the rest of the afternoon and the zesty watercress is bound to brighten even the drabbest workday.  Just bring a tin of altoids or enough salad to share with the person in the next cube over and you’re golden.

Shall we salad?  Is salad now considered a verb?  Yes and yes.

Farro, Tuna & Canellini Bean Salad

Start with what takes the most time, cooking the beans and the grains.  I soaked cannellini beans overnight and simmered them with a bay leaf and a clove of garlic.  I wouldn’t fault you for  popping open a can; I just happened to have an abundance of dried beans I’m trying to get through.  As for the grain, I’m using farro, which is very similar to barley.  I’m always surprised by farro’s cook time.  I think it’s going to take forever, but it’s really it’s done in under half an hour.  If you’re really pressed for time, try making the salad with quinoa instead, and it’ll be ready in under 15 minutes.

How to Cook Farro & Cannellini Beans

Now for the dressing.  Smash garlic and anchovies together using mortar and pestle or a mini food processor.  Transfer to a jar, add a spoonful of Dijon mustard, a few squeezes of lemon, and a good glug of olive oil.  Cover and shake.  Dressing, done!

Time to assemble the salad.  Grab a big bowl and dump in the cooked farro and beans.  Add the tuna, a sliced shallot and a sprinkling of capers.  Toss with the dressing to coat, add a heap of watercress, toss again.  A delicious lunch to take you through the week, stinky breath be damned.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Farro Salad with Tuna, Cannellini Beans & Watercress
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This salad holds up well for a couple days; make it Monday morning and you've got lunches covered for most of the week.
Recipe type: Lunch, Salad, Healthy
Cuisine: American, Italian
Serves: 6
  • 1 c. Farro
  • 1 c. Cooked Cannellini Beans (I soaked mine overnight and simmered them for about an hour with a bay leaf and garlic clove 'til tender. You could certainly just use canned beans)
  • 1 can Olive Oil-Packed Tuna, drained
  • 1 medium Shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch Watercress (or Arugula)
  • 2 Tbsp. Capers, rinsed
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets, rinsed (to remove some of the salt)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Rinse the farro and combine with 2½ c. lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain, if necessary.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Smash the garlic cloves and the anchovy fillets together using mortar and pestle or pulse in a food processor or blender until a thick paste has formed. If using mortar and pestle, transfer to a lidded jar and combine the remaining dressing ingredients and shake until well combined.
  3. Combine the cooked faro, cannellini beans, tuna, shallots, and capers. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add the watercress and gently toss to incorporate.


  1. Robin O. says

    Hey Sarah! Made this incredible salad today and I absolutely loved it. Super flavorful, loved all the different textures (made my salad with arugula) and really filling. I can see changing it up from time to time with a little chopped avocado and some halved grape tomatoes. Thanks for the great recipe!
    P.S. I didn’t think this salad was stinky at all! In fact I thought it smelled delicious but maybe that’s just me?

    • says

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and I’m glad you liked the salad! As for the stink, I think it’s more my garlic breath than the salad itself.

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