Here’s what happens when you don’t really feel like using more than one pot, you’ve got some kale in your fridge that you don’t have any epic plans for (/it has been giving you the side eye), and an abundance of useful pantry items: you make this kale salad, worthy of even Beyonce’s adoration. It’s simple, filling, full of nutrients and also just a nice change up from the usual suspects in your dinnertime rotation (soups, chili, stewps – easy one pot liquid-based meals that we all depend on to nourish us through the winter). For whatever reason, yesterday as I was looking outside, it hit me how far away summer is. It’s February. That means it’s *almost* March, which is basically spring, and that means warmer temperatures and not wearing a protective cocoon of sweaters and huge puffy coats everyday. My feeling/internal woe of, “I want summer!” is a little too early in the season and must be dampened appropriately, or it’s going to feel like an eternity before the 5 feet of snow on the ground in Boston transform into the puddles you jump in, wearing your cute Hunter boots, on the way to play Frisbee in the Common. To satisfy my inner lament, I took a summer-y dish and winterized it through this easy food equation: raw kale salad + farro = YES. We’ve already dug into my love for all things farro in a previous post (which you can find here) so I won’t rehash my little farro love fest again. This kale salad however, is another story. It’s full of plant protein – combining edamame AND chickpeas to give you the one-two punch of veggie protein power, along with carrots for color and craisins for a little sweetness. Add this amazing lemon vinaigrette dressing I threw together on the fly last night, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome meal right there. The best part is that because kale is so hearty and cruciferous and stuff, it won’t wilt if you store this salad already dressed in the fridge (unlike those other lame lettuce-based salads that turn into a limp pile of sadness overnight). Um, can anyone say Make Ahead Meal Planning for the Week?? You may have just found the perfect mason jar salad to bring to work/school for lunch – simply divide the leftovers into large wide mouth mason jars, and store in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go lunch (yessss, life just got so much easier). To round this meal out and add some more deliciousness/nutrients, farro is the perfect grain complement to heap on top. Without further ado:
L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad
- 1 cup of farro
- 3 cups of water
- 1 bunch of kale, rinsed, destemmed, and chopped in salad-sized pieces
- 1 handful (~a cup) of grated carrots
- 2/3 cup of craisins
- 1 cup of shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
- 1 15.5-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- half of a handful each of fresh mint and fresh basil, chopped
- Sliced Almonds for topping
- Whatever else you’re feeling
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 heaping teaspoon of Italian herb blend (mine had oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Step One: First, start the farro by adding the farro and water to a medium-sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for 30 minutes, and drain off any excess liquid when it’s done. Now for the raw salad part: after de-stemming your kale, rinse well. To dry the leaves, salad spin or pat dry with paper towels. Finely chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.
Step Two: Combine the other salad ingredients: carrots, craisins, edamame, chickpeas. Chop the fresh herbs and add to the salad.
Step Three: Whip up your dressing! Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to emulsify. Side note: The best dressing technique is to add all your “water-based” ingredients and solids first (so, lemon juice, herbs, Dijon and garlic), and whisk those well. Then, add your olive oil slowly while whisking really fast in order to emulsify all the ingredients. Just throwing that out there, but feel free to use whatever technique you want. 😉
Step Four: Toss to combine. All the beans will sink to the bottom of your bowl/serving platter so make sure you give this a quick toss each time before serving. You can add the cooled and cooked farro directly in the mix, but I didn’t have a bowl big enough (#smallkitchenprobz) so I kept them separate and just heaped my steaming-hot farro right on top, and it was pretty spectacular. Throw a few slivered almonds on top for some crunch if you’d like, too (I keep them separate because, unlike the kale, these will get soggy if stored dressed in the fridge).
Step Five: Enjoy!! 😀 😀
I highly recommend that you listen to the song Flower Sermon by Lotus as you make this salad, and dance around your kitchen like a total hippie at a music festival (I mean, that’s what I did). It’s important to listen to some great jams while you cook because: Life. Enjoy it. 😉 😀
This salad packs a lot of great things in there, and is really low maintenance and easy to make. The bright pop of the lemon vinaigrette is a refreshing shift from most of the heavier, winter flavors I’ve been eating lately, and I’m really loving the change of pace. Plus, it reminds me that summer isn’t TOO far away. In the meantime, I’ll continue to hold music festivals in my kitchen while I whip up some great, delicious meals. Everyone get out your flower headbands and flow-y tops (or if you’re a dude – uh…Rainbow sandals and old concert t’s??).
I hope you guys enjoy this baby as much as I did (and will continue to enjoy at lunch today – woohoo!). It’s a good one. 😀
Happy Thursday – we are almost there!! Let’s boogie down til we get to Friday. 🙂