Peppery Grape Salad (Arugula Salad with Grapes and Pepper Viniagrette)

I admit that name doesn’t really make it sounds very good, however the pepperiness comes from a few different sources – the arugula (a delicate peppery green), a black pepper viniagrette (that one is obvious), and some tart acidity from pickled red onions. This recipe I’ve taken pretty exactly from a Pinch of Yum with only major additions of how to cook farro. I also added some micro greens. 🙂

Just a warning, you will need to think in advance about making this since the onions require 24 hours of marinating. We ate this salad for a few days, so it does keep relatively well. 

Peppery Grape Salad

Serves 4-6


For the Pickled Red Onions

  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup champagne vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 red onions, very thinly sliced (I only had room for 1 onion and it was more than enough…)

For the Black Pepper Vinaigrette

  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic

For the Salad

  • 2½ cups red grapes, halved
  • 2 cups cooked farro or a gluten free alternative like quinoa (directions below)
  • 3 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • ½ cup chopped cashews
  • 1 cup chopped micro greens/sprouts (I used pea shoots, but beet sprouts would also add a nice splash of color)


  1. Pickled Red Onions: Place the vinegars, water, sugar, and salt in a jar with a tight fitting – shake lid until well combined. Add the sliced red onions. Refrigerate at least 24 hours or longer for best flavor.
  2. Dressing: Place the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, pepper, and salt in a jar. Crush the garlic clove and just drop it in the jar in one or two pieces – the idea is that you’ll still get some fresh garlic flavor infused into the dressing without the little pieces of raw garlic in the dressing when you serve it. 🙂 Shake to combine. You can make this ahead.
  3. Assembly: Toss the grapes and farro with about half of the dressing. Add the arugula, basil, cashews, and a handful (however much you want) of the pickled red onions. Toss to combine. Add additional dressing if it needs any more – for me, the original amount of dressing was just about right.

Making farro:

To make 2 cups of cooked farro you’ll need 3 cups of water and 1 cup dry farro. 


  • Use 1 part farro to 3 parts liquid. 
  • As it cooks, the mixture foams, so 1 cup farro needs at least a 4- to 5-quart pan.
  • Simmer farro, covered, until tender to bite, about 25 minutes.
  • There will be extra water, it will not soak up all of the liquid like many other cooked grains. 
  • If you want a creamy texture, let stand off the heat for about 10 minutes.
  • If cooking farro ahead of time, drain while still hot; save liquid to add when reheating or ― since the grain makes a good salad ― to use as part of a dressing. Let farro cool, then cover and chill up to 2 days. Reheat in a microwave oven or use cold.


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