Winter Squash Farro Salad with Crispy Kale

Winter-Squash-Farro-Salad-with-Crispy-Kale

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, this winter farro salad has become one of my favorite meatless meals, mainly because it’s filled with high-nutrition yet scrumptious seasonal flavors.

There’s roasted butternut with a hint of maple syrup to bring out the natural sweetness of the squash, crispy and savory kale “chips,” and rich and creamy goat cheese.

Farro-Salad-with-Winter-Squash-Goat-Cheese-and-Crispy-Kale

And farro is my new love.

It’s an ancient grain finding new popularity, and I like it because it’s so easy to prepare.

Just cook it in boiling water until it’s tender – it’s similar to rice, but actually cooks faster than rice.

Farro has a really tasty flavor that I actually like better than quinoa or rice, with a delicious, hearty, chewy texture and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.

It’s also very nutritious – packed with detoxifying fiber and filling protein (7 grams of each per serving)!

Winter-Farro-Salad-with-Crispy-Kale

Serve this salad warm; it’s just so comforting on a cold night! 

Here is the complete, printable recipe:

 

And for the step-by-step instructions for this winter farro salad recipe,

ingredients

…Begin with these ingredients.

And preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

crispy-kale

Then grab some fresh kale and arrange it evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

The trick is to make sure that the pan is covered in one thin, even layer (the more the kale overlaps, the less it will crisp in the oven).

Then season it with olive oil, salt and pepper.

After cooking for just several minutes, the kale will wilt down and be transformed into salty, crispy “chips.”

The photo above shows how the kale looks after it has roasted in the oven and wilted down; before the kale cooked, it completely covered the pan so the parchment was not visible at all.

Set the kale aside, and increase the oven heat to 425 degrees F.

Farro

Next step: the farro!

Although farro is simple to prepare (just boil it on the stove top until it’s tender), it takes about 30 minutes to cook.

So begin boiling the farro now at this early stage of prep.

pan-of-farro

Just add the farro to a boiling pot of salted water, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the farro is tender and the water is all absorbed (be sure to drain any excess water that remains in the pot, or the salad will be watery).

smashing-garlic-cloves

Next, grab a few cloves of garlic, arrange your knife flat over them, and press down, breaking up the cloves and removing the outer skin.

Then run your knife in every direction through the garlic, mincing it up.

chopping onion

Also grab an onion and chop off the root end.

Slice the onion in half, peel off the skin, and chop up each half.

butternut-squash-and-onion

Since chopping butternut squash is not the fastest or easiest job in the world, I normally begin with packaged, pre-chopped butternut – this keeps things simple.

Just pile the garlic, onion, and chopped butternut on the center of a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Drizzle on some olive oil, some pure maple syrup, and season thoroughly with salt and pepper.

Although you won’t taste the maple in the final dish, it really helps to bring out the sweetness in the squash, and it’s a very tasty contrast to the salty crispy kale and goat cheese.

Mix and combine the ingredients until the squash is well coated with oil and syrup, then arrange the ingredients across pan in one thin layer.

Roast it all in the oven until the butternut is tender when pierced with a fork.

Winter-Squash-Farro-Salad-with-Crispy-Kale

Then, as soon as the squash comes out of the oven, pour it into the pot containing the cooked farro.

Add the goat cheese and stir until everything is combined and the cheese is nicely melted.

Transfer the farro salad to serving bowls and, for the final touch, crush several of the kale chips to sprinkle over the top of each salad.

Important Tip: don’t mix the kale in with the warm salad – it will immediately wilt the kale, removing any crispiness.

Then serve while the salad is still warm!

Farro-Salad-with-Winter-Squash-Goat-Cheese-and-Crispy-Kale

This winter farro salad is a complete and filling meatless meal that’s really satisfying and flavorful.

The rich, creamy goat cheese, the tender sweet squash, the crispy kale, the nutty farro – it’s what I call a hearty, warm winter salad!

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