This Winter farro salad is wonderful for meatless Monday. Roasted butternut squash, crispy kale, and tangy goat cheese make for a fantastic meal.
This winter farro salad has become one of my favorite meatless meals this season. First, because farro (trendy in restaurants now, but actually a traditional grain from the ancient Mediterranean) is so good. I’ve found that it’s a grain that’s easy to prepare (quicker than rice) with a hearty, chewy texture and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. It’s packed with detoxifying fiber and filling protein (7 grams of each per serving) and, in my opinion, tastes better than rice or quinoa. So yes, I’m pretty addicted to farro these days.
The second reason this dish has become a favorite of mine this winter: the combo of 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. Serve this salad warm; it’s just so comforting on a cold night!
As for a few tips for success with this recipe, begin by roasting some kale with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Be careful to spread out the kale so that no two pieces are overlapping – this is the key to ensuring that every piece becomes crisp in the oven. After cooking for just several minutes, the kale will be transformed into salty, crispy “chips.” Just be sure to set the crispy kale aside and, when the farro salad is ready, crush a few of the chips to sprinkle over the top. Don’t mix the kale in with the warm salad – it will immediately wilt the kale, removing any crispiness.
Another tip: before roasting the butternut squash and onions, drizzle on a bit of pure maple syrup along with the olive oil. Although you won’t taste the maple in the final dish, it really helps to bring out the sweetness in the squash, a perfect complement to the savory kale and goat cheese.
Last suggestion: although farro is super simple to prepare (just boil it on the stovetop until it’s tender), it takes about 30 minutes to cook. So it’s best to begin boiling the farro earlier on as you’re working through the recipe.
The final dish 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 – this is what I call a hearty, warm winter salad!