Farro has been my new favorite thing. There’s just something about that unique chewy texture and nutty flavor that I can’t get enough of this summer!
Farro is an ancient wheat grain that is small, light-brown colored. It’s wholeness and subtle bran tastes are flexible and adaptable to most recipes that would call for rice or other grains. Before farro is cooked, it looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley.
I always used to make this recipe with millet, which is delicious and gluten free. We also enjoyed this kale and chickpea salad the last couple summers with quinoa, but the farro is the softest, largest, almost creamiest grain. I’m sure barley would yield similar taste, but farro’s soft texture contributes a tasty surprise. I’m sure you’ve figured out that this is one of our unconventional uses for our prolific garden kale. But really, it’s so good that you’ll find it a gratifying compliment to your grilled chicken or broiled salmon dinners this week.
You may find that it has a bite from the lemon. I admit I like to taste the lemon. If perhaps you don’t, cut back on the amount of lemon to maybe 2 tablespoons. The smoky hint from the cumin rounds it all up. Other than that, this salad is pretty straight forward. I recommend “massaging” the kale first before incorporating the other salad elements. Because kale leaves are so sturdy, allowing it to sit in the fridge a couple of days helps soften the kale and allows the farro to absorb the salad juices.
An emotional side note: Two summers ago, an older friend was suffering from cancer, and her diet was very restricted to highly-nutritious, whole foods. Of all the meals we shared with her, this salad (with quinoa instead of farro) was her favorite. She liked it with the grilled boneless chicken thighs on top as a one bowl meal. Making this salad always reminds me of Judy.
Kale, Farro, and Chickpea Salad
1 bunch of kale, washed, leaves cut off the stem and chopped like lettuce for salad
1 cup farro (I use Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro), cooked according to package directions
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 15 or 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Place cut up kale in a bowl. Add salt and massage the leaves with the salt until the leaves start to become tender. Add the cooked farro (cooled, warm is fine too) and chickpeas. Stir in the oil, lemon juice and cumin. Add black pepper to taste and enjoy. It really is better 2 and 3 days later. Refrigerate your leftovers.
Even if it’s not a weekly staple for you like it is at our house, I do hope you’ll give this delicious salad combination a chance.
Let me know how you like it and what you paired it with!
with love. Damaris