Another kale salad? Yep. I can’t stop eating this one. It’s full of tender massaged kale, chewy cooked whole grains, tangy crumbled goat cheese, toasted almonds and dried cherries. The vinaigrette is intentionally zippy, and it brings it all together.
This salad is a dead ringer for one of my favorite Kansas City salads, the winter farro salad at French Market. It’s a cozy place with grab-and-go salads, amazing pastries and crêpes. The woman behind the counter typically has a lovely French accent. We often stop there on our way out of town for healthy road snacks.
I’ve become quite enamored with their farro salad. Since it’s labeled “winter,” I thought I’d better come up with a homemade version before it was too late. Here it is!
This salad would be a wonderful hearty vegetarian option on your Easter table. It also packs great for work lunches and spring picnics. Beware, it’s hard to stop eating it once you start.
Salad Notes & Tips
- Farro cook times can vary, depending on whether you buy pearled, semi-pearled or whole farro. Sometimes it’s hard to know which one you have, so check the cook time on the label or just test the farro frequently for doneness after about 15 minutes has passed.
- While the farro cooks, you can work on the remaining components (whisk together the dressing, toast the almonds, chop the dried cherries, and massage the kale).
- Yes, I just said “massage the kale.” Sprinkling the chopped kale with a few dashes of salt and repeatedly scrunching it in your hands until darker greens helps do two things. One, it makes the kale taste less bitter and “raw.” Two, it makes the kale more soft and easier to eat, which makes a big difference!
- Keep a watchful eye on the almonds as they toast in the skillet, and stir often. They can go from golden brown to burnt quickly. Freshly toasted nuts add tons of savory flavor and extra-crisp texture—don’t skip this step!
- Once you’ve drained the cooked farro, stir the vinaigrette and dried cherries into the warm farro. The farro will absorb some of that delicious vinaigrette flavor, and the warmth will temper the garlic. The moisture and warmth will also help plump up the cherries a bit.
- Lastly, wait until the farro is almost completely cool to stir it into the kale and add goat cheese. Otherwise, the goat cheese will melt, and your salad won’t be quite as pretty. You can serve the salad immediately, or let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
Please let me know how this salad turns out for you in the comments!
Farro and Kale Salad with Goat CheeseCourse: SaladsCuisine: Vegetarian
You’re going to love this delicious and nutritious kale and farro salad recipe! It’s full of hearty greens and chewy whole grains, plus flavorful toasted almonds, crumbled goat cheese, dried cherries and tangy vinaigrette. Recipe yields 4 large salads or up to 8 side salads.
1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 big bunch curly green kale, ribs removed and chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
½ cup raw sliced almonds
⅓ cup roughly chopped dried cherries or cranberries
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 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). Add the salt, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. 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 set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle it with a few dashes of salt and massage it with your hands by scrunching up large handfuls at a time until it’s darker and more fragrant (this makes the kale taste less bitter and makes it easier to eat). Set aside.
- To toast the almonds, pour them into a small or medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently (careful, they can burn), until the almonds are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges. Pour the almonds into the bowl of massaged kale.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, simply whisk the ingredients together in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
- Once the farro has been cooked and drained, stir in the chopped dried cherries (so they have a chance to plump up a bit) and vinaigrette (the heat will temper the garlic a bit).
- Once the farro has cooled down to room temperature or close to it, stir it into the kale mixture. Gently crumble most of the goat cheese into the salad and lightly stir. Taste, and if the salad doesn’t taste amazing yet, stir in more vinegar by the teaspoon until it does.
- Crumble the remaining goat cheese on top of the salad. Serve promptly, or refrigerate for later. This salad keeps well for four to five days in the refrigerator, covered.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Substitute wild rice (cooked according to package directions) for the farro. Long-grain brown rice would be ok, too.
- MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: Omit the goat cheese. If you really want a creamy element, you could drizzle a little bit of my vegan sour cream over individual servings.
- MAKE IT NUT FREE: Replace the almonds with pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds.