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January 10, 2013

Recipe for farro and kale salad with white beans and slow-roasted (or sun-dried) {vegan} tomato

Farro and kale salad, hearty enough to be a Meatless Monday main dish.

Farro, I owe you an apology. I didn't mean to bury you in the back of the pantry cupboard and forget all about you for, oh, a couple of years, but I did. To make amends, I've created this salad to showcase your nutty wheat taste and texture. You have great company: white beans, slow-roasted tomatoes, pecans and kale, and a mustardy balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over everything adds a bit of glamor. One of the ancient grains, you are easy to prepare (especially pearled farro, which has the outer husk removed and cooks more quickly) and versatile, pairing well with savory vegetables and spices, or with honey and fruit. This salad makes a great vegetarian main dish -- add some crumbled feta cheese if you wish -- and a perfect picnic take-along. Farro, everyone will love this salad, so I hope you forgive me for neglecting you.

Farro and kale salad, on The Perfect Pantry.

Farro and kale salad with white beans and sun-dried tomato

From the pantry, you'll need: slow-roasted tomatoes (or sun-dried tomatoes), canned white beans, pecans, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 2-3; can be multiplied.

Ingredients

For the salad:
1 cup farro
2 cups whole baby kale leaves (or chopped kale)
6 slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomato halves, diced
1/4 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pecan halves or pine nuts

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup mild agave nectar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil (not fruity)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

Directions

Place the farro plus 2 cups of water in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the farro is fluffy but still chewy. Remove from the heat and transfer the farro to a large mixing bowl.

To the farro, add the kale, slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomato, and white beans. Stir to allow the heat of the farro to begin to wilt the kale.

In a small jar, combine the vinaigrette ingredients. Cover the jar and shake it vigorously to emulsify the dressing.

Spoon only as much dressing as needed onto the farro mixture to moisten the salad without drowning it (you will have extra dressing, which you can store in the refrigerator). Allow the salad to sit for a few minutes at room temperature, then stir again, and add more dressing if necessary.

In a small nonstick frying pan, toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until they are fragrant and just slightly browned. Top each serving of the salad with some of the nuts.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Vegan barley and lentil pilaf with mushrooms and spinach
Warm salad of kamut, cranberries and feta
Shrimp, kale and cannellini bean casserole
Pasta bow ties with broccoli, white beans, pine nuts and feta

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Farro with mushrooms, thyme and balsamic vinegar, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Simple farro and bean stew, from 101 Cookbooks
Farro and red beans with caramelized onions, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Fiery red bean chili, from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Spinach and farro salad with pinto beans and mozzarella, from Green Lite Bites

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Comments

Wow this looks good! - I have been meaning to try Farro - thanks for the great reminder and recipe! I imagine it is a bit like bulgar wheat only "bigger"

This looks great, if only I had farro lurking in the back of my pantry today. I do have the rest of the ingredients. In fact, I used my first package of put-up slow roasted tomatoes in chili last night!
I'll skip around to see how you put up your tomatoes, because I don't think I could have just 6 (I scoop 3 cups of tomatoes/pan juices into quart bags and freeze flat). Perhaps next summer I will intentionally pack them differently for use in this recipe.

Thank you!

Thanks for the reminder of farro. I recently bought a 5 pound bag and need to start working my way through. I just wish I had the kale in the garden. Alas, it's still buried in snow.

Carol, it's similar to bulgur, but more chewy and nutty. You could substitute barley for the farro in this recipe.

Kirsten, if you freeze your tomatoes individually on a baking sheet, then transfer them to zip lock bags, you can break off just as many as you need for smaller dishes. Worth a try for this and many other recipes here on The Perfect Pantry.

Julia, 5 pounds of farro! Lucky you! Another reader told me that when the kale freezes, it's actually sweeter, so maybe it's worth digging for?

I just finished the farro I bought with you in Boston. I do love it and this sounds great!

This looks delicious. I haven't tried farro before. I am going to have to try it. Thanks for the recipe!

Kalyn, Sharrel: You'll love this recipe. It's a great main dish for a Meatless Monday.

This is an excellent salad recipe Lydia. Thanks for finding creative ways to bring us delicious recipes.

Yum! I love kale! Farro is hard for me to eat though because it's wheat. I just found your recipe while doing additional research on kale for an article I just published. It’s a fun exploration of kale’s history and super-powers! Please check it out and leave a comment if you like it, or share it with your readers:

http://superhumanfoods.org/2012/11/kale-the-king-of-vegetable-superfoods.html

yum!!!

Hmm, I have 5 pounds of spelt berries (and some rye too). I should be working on it -- like this! (There are some who confuse spelt with farro... both ancient forms of wheat.) And for fast foodists, why not use bulgur -- the whole, dark stuff?

I happened to have farro in the pantry to try and for some reason I had a jar of slow roasted tomatoes from the summer in my fridge. This was an amazing salad! I added half of a red pepper, chopped (it needed another color) and it was delicious. I admit that I have a newfound love of kale and this was a perfect addition to my roster of kale recipes. I used chick peas instead of white beans because it was what I had on hand and pine nuts. Amazing.

Thanks, Lydia! I'll try that this tomato season.

Ah, and I am guilty of not cooking with farro or kale often enough. I love this salad - great flavors and textures and oh so much healthier than the food I've been making lately. I must try this!

Jeff, my pleasure.

Susan, I'm sure you could substitute spelt in this recipe with great success.

Debbie, thanks so much for your feedback. I love your pantry-based creative changes.

Kirsten, I know you'll like this when you do try it.

Jamie, now that I've got kale into my diet on a regular basis, I need to work more on the grains. (and you have a great excuse for not cooking much for the past few months -- a new kitchen installation!)

what could you use instead of the agave nectar? (as it is high in fructose)

CW, you can use honey (also high in fructose) or, if you cannot have fructose, either leave it out, or use an artificial sweetener.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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