Flavor explodes out of this salad! It can be used as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish as the beans and farro contain good sources of protein. All the different textures make it fun to eat and the colors just remind me of Spring, even though it’s still darn cold here! All together now let’s chant “Bring Spring, Bring Spring.”
I’ve added a lot of extra touches to the ingredients in this salad. It’s just an option and not necessary. The salad is excellent with the radishes, chick peas and golden raisins as is. I would however toast the pine nuts. The nice thing about this salad is that the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and you can assemble it quickly before your meal.
If you’ve never tried Farro I really urge you to try it. It’s another ancient grain, like quinoa, but it has a more rice-like texture. It’s a nutritional powerhouse with a unique nutty flavor. Farro was a mainstay in the diet of ancient Romans. In fact, it is believed to be the original ancestor of all other wheat species. It’s sometimes called “The Mother of all Wheat.” Farro is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. It is easily digested making the nutrients easily absorbed into the body. Farro can be used in stews, casseroles and salads making it pretty versatile. It is a good substitution for brown rice and wheat berries and it can even be used to make a delicious risotto! Farro is easy to prepare but still exotic enough to impress the heck out of your friends and family. I buy mine in a package and it’s usually the organic variety. The package has cooking directions on it and following those directions, it always turns out good. I often use low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and a couple of teaspoons of all purpose no-salt spice blend in the cooking liquid for added flavor.
- (These amounts will prepare 4 servings if using it as a side dish or 2 portions if using it as a main dish).
- 4 servings of prepared Farro - cook Farro according to package directions.
- 4 (or more) cups Kale - Please see my post for the "Best Dressed Kale," that's how I prepared the kale for this salad.
- 4-6 Radishes - thinly sliced. I actually used pickled radishes. However, it is not necessary in this recipe. The crunch and flavor punch of the radish on it's own is enough.
- ¾ cup Golden Raisins - try soaking the golden raisins for about an hour in your favorite white wine or the wine you're serving for dinner for a wonderful flavor. For a sweeter flavor soak them in a Moscato. It will definitely be the touch that puts the dish over the top.
- 1 can of chick peas drained and rinsed - I roasted mine in the oven. Place the chick peas on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle some olive oil on them and mix it with your hands so all peas are coated. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the chick peas are lightly browned and a bit crispy to the bite.
- ½ cup Toasted Pine Nuts - Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts with no oil. Toast them until lightly browned (you'll begin to smell them).
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese for garnish - I use my veggie peeler to make ribbons of parmesan.
- For the honey balsamic dressing: (makes 1 cup of dressing)
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Prepare the kale with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder and Kosher salt according to my "Best Dressed Kale" recipe. The kale should sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for it to soften up and for the flavors to set in. Cook the farro according to package directions. Set aside, allowing it to cool to room temperature.
- Stir the golden raisins, chick peas and pine nuts into the kale.
- Cover the bottom of your plate with the farro. Place a mound of the kale mixture on top of the farro.
- Place the thinly sliced radishes on the farro, around the kale mound. Grate some ribbons of parmesan onto the top of the kale mound for garnish. Drizzle the kale and farro with the honey balsamic dressing (recipe below).
- For the Honey Balsamic Dressing:
- Place all ingredients in a small Mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake the jar until the honey dissolves and the dressing becomes smooth.