Another salad with kale? Yep. I keep eating this one nonstop. It is loaded with tangy crumbled goat cheese, chewy cooked whole grains, tender massaged kale, toasted almonds, and dried cherries. The vinaigrette, which unifies everything and is purposefully zingy, is used.
This salad has a striking resemblance to the winter farro salad at French Market, one of my favorite salads in Kansas City. It’s a quaint location with delicious pastries, crêpes, and salads you can grab and go. The counter woman usually has a great French accent. On our way out of town, we frequently stop there for some wholesome road food.
They have a fantastic farro salad, which I have grown to love. I figured I’d better make a homemade version because it’s marked “winter” before it’s too late. This is it!
On your Easter dinner, this salad would make a lovely, substantial vegetarian choice. It also travels well for springtime picnics and office lunches. Be careful; once you start eating it, it’s difficult to quit.
Notes & Tips for Salad
- Whether you buy pearled, semi-pearled, or whole farro, cooking times will vary. If you’re unsure which one you have, check the cook time on the label or simply check the farro periodically after around 15 minutes to see if it’s finished.
- Work on the remaining elements while the farro cooks (whisk together the dressing, toast the almonds, chop the dried cherries, and massage the kale).
- I did just say to massage the kale. Two things can be accomplished by salting the chopped kale lightly and continuously scrunching it in your hands to produce darker greens. The kale tastes less bitter and “raw” as a result, for one. Two, it greatly improves the kale’s texture and eating experience.
- As the nuts toast in the skillet, keep an eye on them and stir frequently. They can easily go from golden brown to burned. Don’t overlook this step; freshly toasted nuts offer gobs of delicious flavor and an extra-crisp texture.
- After draining the cooked farro, combine it with the vinaigrette and dried cherries while it’s still warm. Some of the excellent vinaigrette taste will be absorbed by the farro, and the warmth will mellow the garlic. The warmth and moisture will also aid in slightly plumping up the cherries.
- Finally, add the goat cheese and toss the farro into the kale only after it has nearly entirely cooled. Otherwise, your salad won’t be as attractive because the goat cheese will melt. The salad can marinate in the fridge for a few hours or be served right away.
Also read: Halloumi Tacos with Pineapple Salsa & Aji Verde
- 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
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 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 skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently (careful, they can burn), until the almonds are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. 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.