It’s a bit unconventional but I want to get out of the way a few housekeeping matters before we jump into today’s post.

First of all I’ve updated the book page with a few new events, including a fun dinner/class in March (3/8) at the studio of Sunday Suppers in NYC.

Also, I’m excited and a bit flustered to report that the first printing of the book has all been spoken for and it seems that it is harder and harder to get a copy (we actually have a few signed copies left in our shop). I’m sorry for the inconvenience. The second print-run is on its way. In fact, my books are sitting on a boat off the coast of LA. Let’s hope the labor disputes find a happy resolution and we can get back to having the books in stock. In the meantime, thank you so much for sharing images, words and recipes from the book. It makes me beyond happy to see the words, stories and food from three years of hard work out in the world and doing exactly what I hoped it would; inspiring. Thank you.

Okay. Done with that.


Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad // Not Without Salt

We’ve been away from our home more than usual. Attending parties, dinners and book signings all the while sharing our heart for the book and eager to talk to people about why I wrote it and the result of creating the pages you read in Date Night In. Every bit of it has been encouraging and beautiful (well, except for my crazy insecurities and fears throughout it all) and I thank you for the continued support through conversations, emails, texts, and messages scattered throughout the Internet.

While it all has been wonderful and I am thrilled with the response from the book I have missed the kitchen and really, I have missed feeding you all. What it always comes back to for me is the table and putting something on the table that inspires, that satisfies and starts a conversation.

To be honest, I am a bit tired of trying to sell you stuff; the book, the cookies and quite frankly, me. As proud as I am about all of those things I have missed simply coming here and offering you a recipe that I’ve come to love. A recipe that I made and felt it worthy of living in these pages. I am so eager to feed again.

Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad // Not Without Salt

I’m not going to stop talking about the book, however. Or more accurately, I am not going to stop talking about dating my husband, because at the heart of it all, why I want to shout at the top of my lungs standing at the peak of the highest mountain about it is because in it lives a message that I want people to hear. One of love, intention, commitment, and fried chicken.

But right now, let’s sit at the table and eat this salad. It’s the sort of meal that balances those eaten away from home. It’s hearty yet light. Sweet but also savory. A touch spicy, a bit tart, crunchy and chewy, bright and deep. It is comfortable and unfussy. Perfect for easing back into a routine. For settling back to the table. Pull up a chair, it is my joy to feed you.

Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad // Not Without Salt

Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad

Serves 4


1 cup farro

2 cups water

pinch salt

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon harissa (more to taste)

juice and zest from 1 small lemon (more or less to tase)

1/4 cup pistachios lightly toasted

5 dates, pitted and roughly chopped

1/4 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup crumbled feta

salt, to taste


Cook the farro until just tender but still has a bit of bite.

Drain and cool.


In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the fennel and sprinkle in the sugar.

Cook until the fennel is tender and deeply caramelized; copper in color, about 5 to 7 minutes over medium high heat.

In a large bowl add the farro, caramelized fennel, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, harissa and lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.

Toss the farro with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.


If you are making this in advance, reserve the mint leaves until just ready to serve as they tend to turn black when cut.

37 Responses to “Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad”

  1. Stephanie [Mind Body Feed]

    This recipe looks absolutely incredible! Can’t wait to give it a try this weekend. I love reading about your journey as well. Your blog is such an inspiration as I continue to work on my own. Thanks for all the great recipes, Ashley!

  2. Abby

    This post is so, so lovely, Ashley. Your photos are stunning, and I just adore your writing. 🙂

  3. dani | theloveofvanilla

    This looks to die for. I love salads. I will be craving this all day now wishing it’s what I have for lunch instead of my canned tuna salad. Another one on my ‘to-cook wishlist’ 🙂

    Also so glad my copy of your book is already in the mail! Australia Post says it should be delivered today so hopefully I get to the post office before it closes!

  4. Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    I love how you write about your relationship to the kitchen and cooking. It is such a personal experience when you develop recipes and then share them on your blog; baring your soul in entirely different way.
    Your salad is mouthwatering!

  5. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    This is truly gorgeous, Ashley. I’ve loved seeing the amazing (and well deserved) success of your book. But yes, it must feel good to be back in your space. Cheers!

  6. Daytona

    Maybe it’s just me, but I hear a deep breath of rest and rejuvenation in your words here, maybe as a result of being back in the kitchen and around the table with those you love. Beautiful, as always, Ashley.

  7. Amanda

    It feels appropriate even though you have actually been around here lately–it feels, yes, like you’ve come home: Welcome back!

  8. LoveCompassionateLee

    I am very happy for your success, Ashley. I am even more delighted that you still make time to feed us (considering your busy schedule). I wish you continued success. More importantly, I wish you an abundance of peace & rest. Happy Wednesday 🙂

  9. Kasey

    I don’t mind you selling me stuff. It is always delicious, authentic, and so very true to you. This salad. Yum!

  10. Angela

    I had the best date night in with my husband on Friday night inspired by your book and blog. Thank you. Actually that night I was planning a farro salad however the packet said it needed to be soaked for 8 hours, so I abandoned that grain. Do you soak yours or simply boil until tender? With thanks.

  11. Stephanie Miskew

    This is exactly the type of recipe I’ve been looking for! A hearty salad with lots of great flavor and texture – thanks so much for sharing and Congratulations on your book! I feel your pain with the problems in California, access to wine has been affected as well – hope it gets cleared up soon ~ Cheers:)

  12. Jules

    my husband has an irrational, angry fear and disgust for fennel while I love it. Insane, right? What would you suggest might be an interesting alternative I could offer in his sorry fennel-less portion?

  13. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    I love this recipe, with the mint and farro and feta, and I totally love your post. It’s got a calm, reflective feel to it that’s making me introspective about how I spend my time! Congrats on all your success 🙂

  14. Mathilda

    Do you think it would work with halloumi in place of feta?! It’s all I have in the fridge! x

  15. Katie

    Waiting on a copy myself…any clue when that second run of books is going to come in? 🙂

  16. Cathi

    I’ve stalked your page for years now, and have made a few things here and there but never felt driven to comment before. I know a lot of times people comment, ‘that looks great!’ and never make the recipe – well, I wanted you to know I just made this, and IT TASTES GREAT. It finally got up to mid-60’s here in eastern Ontario today, and this is a perfect early spring dinner. I had to look up two of the ingredients, which is always exciting for me (and I ended up subbing Sriracha and some cumin/coriander because I couldn’t find the harissa), and I accidentally used figs instead of dates because that’s what I had and I just plain love figs anyhow. But it’s exactly as described and quite lovely, so thank you. And now I love farro.

  17. joanne

    this was amazing. My husband (a steak and potato guy) must have told me 3-4 times how much he enjoyed this recipe. Can’t wait to make it again. thank you!

  18. jean

    Hello… can you advise of a substitute for Dates — and/or can the salad live without the dates… it’s not a question that I don’t have dates in the closet… rather I’m not sure my guests will like them (even though I do).

    thank you

    • Cathi

      I’ve made it once with dates, and once with figs, it was great both times.

  19. Olga

    This salad is fantastic! Even my two year old loved it, I put some aside for him before I added harrisa.