Mason Jar Chickpea, Farro and Greens Salad (& lunch packing tips!)

Can we discuss today’s lunch? basic, essential, sandwiches for the workday? Although I now work from home, when I used to commute to an office job a few years ago, I learnt a thing or two about packed lunches. For the purpose of productivity, I still prefer to keep my lunches extremely straightforward.

parsley and celery

To state the obvious, lunch is important. Skipping lunch altogether is not a viable option. Coworkers will start giving you funny looks when your head is on the desk and your stomach is growling for help. (I speak from experience.) Also, why skip a perfectly good excuse to eat?

You also can’t completely overdo it at lunch… well, you can, and I totally understand the desire to indulge after a miserable morning. Assuming that your human body functions similarly to my human body, however, choosing fast food with fries or mac and cheese will suck the energy right out of you.

Here’s how it goes: the grease, carbs and all that tasty, tasty salt will probably leave you feeling jazzed for about an hour. Then your eyelids will start to feel verrrrrry heavy. You’ll start fantasizing about crawling under your desk for a little nap. “Will anyone notice?” you’ll wonder. “Just for a few minutes…”

chopped parsley and olive oil

Lunch done right helps us power through the workday. My old office was nowhere near a decent, quick restaurant, so I always scrambled to throw together my lunch in the mornings.

Also read : Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese


Farro (feel free to substitute another grain and/or cook extra for later)

  • 1 ¼ cup farro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Greek dressing (this recipe is easily halved)

  • 1 cup quality extra-virgin olive oil, such as California Olive Ranch brand
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar, honey or sugar

Chickpea and celery salad

  • 2 cans chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced crosswise and roughly chopped
  • ⅔ cup chopped red onion (about one small red onion, chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • ⅓ cup Greek dressing or olive oil and lemon juice, to taste

Greens and garnishes

  • Mixed greens, roughly chopped if you have time (a couple handfuls per salad)
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds
  • Handful dried cherries or cranberries, roughly chopped
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and thinly sliced (optional)
  • Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)


  1. To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed farro with at least three cups water (enough water to cover the farro by a couple of inches). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy. (Pearled farro will take around 15 minutes, unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes.) Drain off the excess water and mix in the olive oil, garlic and salt. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
  3. Make the chickpea and celery salad: In a serving bowl, toss together the chickpeas, prepared celery, red onion and parsley. Stir in enough dressing (or olive oil and lemon juice) to lightly coat the salad. Toss and set aside.
  4. Toast the pepitas: In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pepitas for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they smell fragrant and toasty. Transfer the pepitas to a bowl to cool.
  5. To assemble your mason jar salads: In a quart-sized mason jar (32 ounce capacity), layer the chickpea salad at the bottom along with an additional tablespoon or two of dressing (enough to lightly coat the salad when you turn the jar upside down). Top with cooled farro, then greens (leave about an inch of room at the top). Finish with a sprinkle of