Skip to main content

Green Bean and Farro Picnic Salad



Smashed Green Bean and Farro Salad on a canvas
Photograph by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Emilie Fosnocht

What constitutes a picnic salad, exactly? It’s a simple dish built to be packed up into a reusable container, toted to the park, and shared. A picnic salad is no worse for being eaten in direct sunlight—though it also excels straight from the fridge, making it an ideal make-ahead work lunch option. It’s zippy and light, but hearty enough to be a full meal if all that your friends bring is a pack of Solo cups and a bottle of rosé. It’s got pickled peppers for punch, white beans for protein, and cheese (two kinds!) for fun. The green beans get lightly smashed in a zip-top bag, taking on the flavors of the dressing but staying bright green and crisp, even after a few hours swimming in vinaigrette. The farro cooks in the same pot the green beans did, while they’re getting their marinade on (that’s called time management). You could even blanch the beans one day, stick them in the fridge overnight to marinate, and cook off the grains just before you want to serve. Picnic salad is the star of the potluck, the beach trip, the backyard hang. People will request the recipe. They can find it below.

Seek out farro with “semi-pearled” on the label—this means that some of the outer hull of the grain has been removed, helping it cook in less time than whole grain farro while also retaining some fiber and hearty texture. “Pearled” farro cooks the speediest of all, but it eats more like rice without farro’s characteristic chew.

All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    1 hour 45 minutes

  • Yield

    4–6 servings


1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
1¼ cups semi-pearled farro
1 garlic clove, finely grated
⅔ cup sliced hot cherry peppers, finely chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
Freshly ground pepper
1 15-oz. can white beans, rinsed
8 oz. bocconcini cheese, torn into bite-size pieces
½ oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ¼ cup)


  1. Step 1

    Cook 1 lb. green beans, trimmed, in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer to a bowl of ice water to shock.

    Step 2

    Cook 1¼ cups semi-pearled farro in same pot of boiling water until tender, 30–35 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    Step 3

    Meanwhile, whisk together 1 garlic clove, finely grated, ⅔ cup sliced hot cherry peppers, finely chopped, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ⅓ cup white wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a small bowl; season vinaigrette generously with freshly ground pepper.

    Step 4

    Pat green beans dry with paper towels and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Seal and, using a rolling pin, smash beans to break apart. Add vinaigrette and one 15-oz. can white beans, rinsed. Smoosh around with your hands to coat. Let sit, massaging occasionally, at room temperature at least 1 hour, or chill up to 12 hours.

    Step 5

    Toss green bean mixture along with any dressing left in bag, farro, and 8 oz. bocconcini cheese, torn into bite-size pieces, and ½ oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ¼ cup), in a large bowl to combine.

Sign In or Subscribe
to leave a Rating or Review

How would you rate Green Bean and Farro Picnic Salad?

Leave a Review

  • Made this with simple grilled chicken for lunch to last multiple days this week. Flavors got better with the leftovers as the week went on. Going to try again a couple times this summer for barbecues!

    • Charlie

    • Austin, Texas

    • 5/30/2024

  • Great make ahead salad that satisfies. I think I ate this four days in a row before I got sick of it. I used roasted red peppers in place of hot cherry. It could’ve used more dressing, and I think I ended up adding more acid and salt to get the dressing to pop a bit more. I’d recommend making it the day/night before you plan to eat it, so the flavors meld. I ate it a couple hours after prepping, and it was definitely milder than the following day.

    • Chrisp

    • 5/31/2024

  • Easy make ahead meal that got my preschooler to eat green beans! The briny, sweet hot cherry peppers were the best part. Next time I’ll double them and leave the pieces a little chunkier.

    • Rachel

    • Boston, MA

    • 6/1/2024

Read More
Skip the the roux and the extra pan. Thickened with cornstarch, this cozy one-pot broccoli mac and cheese recipe comes together in just 35 minutes.
Cozy, rich but not heavy, and it doesn’t require a box of broth. Is this your dream soup?
Barely cracked peppercorns toasted in generous amounts of brown butter make one of the easiest, tastiest finishers for simply seared fish.
This remix of an American classic is creamy and ribboned with fresh vegetables, but the real star is the paprika-scented fried onions.
Plump white beans create a luscious broth combined with lemon zest, onion, garlic, and celery. A stealthy knob of butter adds just enough richness.
Bright sesame-ginger dressing. Fresh, crunchy vegetables. Tender chicken. Toasted nuts. This mountain-high salad is poised to be a hit at every gathering.
Quick-cooking gnocchi goes in the same pan as the chicken for this cheesy, crowd-pleasing weeknight meal.
Crisped tinned octopus, briny capers, and a lot of white wine.