An easy coconut curry dressing transforms roasted sweet potato, hearty farro and peppery arugula into a fulfilling salad. Serve as an entrée or side dish.
The flavorful dressing is quick and easy; and if you’re like me, you may already have an opened can of coconut milk sitting in the fridge. To make a simple coconut curry dressing, combine coconut milk, mango chutney and curry powder.
No coconut milk? A plant-based milk is an excellent substitute or change it up and make a curry vinaigrette instead (see the recipe notes).
This makes an incredibly satisfying entrée salad thanks to the farro and roasted sweet potato. Plus it’s a versatile side dish that can be enjoyed warm or cold.
A Note about Farro
The ancient whole grain known as farro is high in fiber and an excellent source of iron. To learn how to cook whole grain farro in less time, check out the recipes notes!
Whole Grain vs. Pearled Farro
Whole grain farro is an unprocessed form of the original kernel, meaning the bran, germ and endosperm are still intact.
Pearled farro, on the other hand, is missing the bran and germ, which has been stripped away to reduce the cooking time. (Semi-pearled is another type which means the grain has only a portion of the bran and germ intact).
To differentiate between the two, whole grain farro typically has a cook time of 25 to 40 minutes. The pearled variety cooks much faster, in about 10 to 15 minutes.
The leeks are optional. They definitely won’t make or break this salad, but they are absolutely delicious once roasted. For instructions on how to chop the leeks, see the recipe notes.
Chutney is the key ingredient to this simple and oil-free, 3 ingredient dressing. The delicious condiment can range from sweet to sour and spicy to hot. Pick your favorite flavor profile!
Where to find: Look for this Indian condiment in the international aisle, Indian grocery stores or buy it online.
For this dressing, I use Kitchens of India’s Sweet Sliced Mango Chutney. It’s sweet and tangy with a mild spice. Store leftover chutney in the refrigerator.
Sweet Potato Farro Salad
A coconut curry dressing transforms roasted sweet potato, hearty farro and peppery arugula into a sweet and mildly spicy salad. This flavorful salad makes for a healthy, plant-based entrée or versatile side dish.
Produce | Sweet potato, Leek (optional), Arugula, Red onion
Pantry | Farro, Vegetable broth (or water), Raisins, Pecans, Coconut milk
Oils & Spices | Extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil, Salt, Black pepper, Curry powder
Specialty | Mango chutney
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 side salads
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: Vegan
Sweet Potato, Leek and Farro
- 1/2 cup uncooked farro, rinsed (I use a quick cooking 10 minute farro)
- Water (or broth) to cook the farro (liquid amount per farro packaging instructions)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ sized pieces
- 2 small leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/2″ to 3/4″ circular rounds *
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Coconut Curry Dressing
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk *
- 1/4 cup sweet mango chutney *
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (1 to 2 teaspoons for a spicier dressing)
- Quarter of a small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup Thompson raisins
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 4 to 6 loosely packed cups arugula, washed and spun dry
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* See recipe notes for more info
Timing Note: If serving warm, time the sweet potato to finish roasting at the end of salad assembly.
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Sweet Potato, Leek and Farro
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cook the Farro: In a large saucepan, cook the farro per the packaging instructions until the farro is tender and chewy. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water and return the farro to the pot, cover to keep warm. Set aside.
- Roast the Sweet Potato and Leek: In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, leek, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until coated. Arrange potatoes and leeks in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (tossing halfway through for even roasting) until the potatoes are fork tender and the leeks are lightly browned. (The leeks tend to roast faster than the sweet potato so keep a close eye on them.)
- For crispier potatoes, remove the leeks once roasted and return the potatoes to the oven for an additional 3 to 6 minutes or until they are crispy and browned. Set aside and let cool slightly before adding to the salad.
- While the sweet potato and leek is roasting, prepare the dressing and assemble the salad.
- To Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, mango chutney and curry powder. Place the bowl of dressing in the refrigerator until needed.
- To Assemble the Salad: In a large bowl, combine the arugula, farro, red onion, raisins, pecans, roasted sweet potatoes and leeks, and gently toss until combined. Next, pour the prepared dressing over the salad and toss again until evenly coated. Serve immediately.
- To Make in Advance / To Store: For best results, keep the arugula and dressing separate from the other ingredients. Toss to combine just before serving. However, you can refrigerate leftover salad that has already been dressed but I have found the dressing flavor weakens a bit and the arugula wilts. Enjoy by the next day.
- Whole Grain Farro vs. Pearled Farro: Allow extra time for cooking whole grain farro, typically 25 to 40 minutes. Pearled farro is a quick cooking type, usually under 15 minutes.
- How to Cook Whole Grain Farro in Less Time: To shorten the cook time for whole grain farro, soak the farro overnight in a bowl of water in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse. Proceed with the water quantity per the packaging instructions but adjust the total cook time to 10 to 15 minutes. Drain off excess water once cooked.
- How to Wash Leeks: Cut off and discard the leafy, dark green end on each leek but keep the root intact. Thoroughly rinse the exterior of the leek, peeling off the outer layer if necessary. Starting at the end opposite of the root (the root will keep the layers together), chop the leeks into circular rounds. Place the leek rounds into a bowl filled with cold water. Swish them in the water to help dislodge dirt or any other impurities, which will collect at the bottom of the bowl. Pay extra attention to the greenest colored rounds, or those that were connected to leafy end, as they tend to be the dirtiest. To remove stubborn dirt, remove the center of the leek round and massage the outer ring layers with your fingers until the dirt is released. Reassemble the round if you like or leave the centers and rings separate. Transfer the leeks to a colander and rinse once more before drying with a towel.
- Coconut Milk: I use the coconut milk brand Thai Kitchen. If you don’t have any coconut milk on hand, substitute with a plant-based milk or turn the dressing into a vinaigrette.
- How to Make a Curry Vinaigrette: Substitute the coconut milk for 2 tablespoons of coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Where to Find Mango Chutney: Look for this Indian condiment in the international aisle, Indian grocery stores or online. There are many chutney varieties, such as sweet, spicy or hot. For this dressing, I use the brand Kitchens of India’s Sweet Sliced Mango Chutney.
- Recipe adapted from Food for Thought with Claire Thomas.
- Recipe was doubled for photography purposes.