Salads CAN be boring. It’s true. Sometimes I see a salad and its just like bleh – no thank you. I’d much rather eat this cheeseburger. BUT, salads don’t HAVE to be boring! They can be exciting – full of texture and flavor! A salad – exciting? Yes! I promise – THIS Kale and Farro Salad will NOT disappoint!
Kale, kale, kale – everyone loves kale. It is absolutely one of the hottest foods to be eating right now. Why? It’s a superfood – okay, but what the heck does that mean?? Kale is a superfood because it is RICH in nutrients – in fact, it packs more nutrition than any other whole food! Calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, potassium, magnesium, and more – you can’t go wrong with kale… health-wise that is.
It took me a long time to figure out how to prepare kale in a way that I liked to eat it. The fibrous kale stems can be challenging to chew and difficult to enjoy when you are accustomed to a softer leaf such as spinach. I found there were three important steps I needed to take in order to enjoy kale.
- Cut and massage the kale: Cutting and massaging the kale before you eat it can soften up the tough fibers and make your kale a lot easier to eat! How does one massage kale? Exactly as one might imagine – using clean hands to squeeze large handfuls of the kale, then releasing! Continue to squeeze and massage different handfuls of kale until the leaves have shrunk slightly in size!
- Choose your dressing wisely: Sometimes I enjoy my salad without dressing – not with a kale salad. Having a quality dressing to coat your kale leaves really can make a difference. Oil-based dressings will spread a lot more easily than low fat or cream based dressings. More spreading over the kale leaves means less dressing used!
- Pair kale with texture-rich toppings: Kale has such a strong texture so it is important to pair it with toppings that are equally rich in texture. I love to enjoy my kale with rich grains (farro), crisp fruit (apples) and/or crunchy nuts (pecans or walnuts). I find that softer fruits (berries) and seeds can get lost among the kale. A smaller, softer leaf such as spinach will really let these ingredients shine.
I love love love farro – it is easily my favorite grain. Never heard of it? Well let me tell you all about it!
Farro is an ancient wheat grain that is super high in fiber, protein, magnesium and iron. All good things, right? Well yes! But what’s the best part? It has this amazing chewy texture that is just DIVINE!
Everyone seems to love quinoa these days, honestly though – it’s not my favorite! GASP! There, I said it! Sure, quinoa is fine – but like… it’s just kinda… there. I feel like it melts in my mouth when I eat it. I want to chew my calories! That is why I love farro. It is rich in flavor and texture, making it the perfect addition to a kale salad.
The farro challenges the kale just enough to stand out without being overpowering. YUM! It is just SO GOOD!
So, let’s get down to business. THIS Kale and Farro salad – why is it so incredible?
Rich, nutrient-dense kale, chewy farro, sweet dried cranberries, juicy apple, and crunchy toasted walnuts – all coated with a bright, citrus lemon vinaigrette.
You. Are. Going. To. LOVE IT!
Feel free to top your salad with fresh grilled salmon or chicken if that’s your thing – or enjoy as-is! The salad will be delicious with almost any dressing I am sure – so go nuts! Wal-nuts… 🙂
Rich, nutrient-dense kale, chewy farro, sweet dried cranberries, juicy apple, and crunchy toasted walnuts - all coated with a bright, citrus lemon vinaigrette.
- 6 cups kale rinsed and chopped
- 2 cups farro cooked
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts chopped
- 1 granny smith or honeycrisp apple diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled cheese (Gorgonzola or goats') optional
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 4 tsp honey
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Toss to combine.
In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients - whisk to combine.
Add dressing to salad - toss to fully coat.
Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container. If possible, store dressing, cheese, and walnuts separately - this will allow salad to stay fresh longer.