There’s something about eating whole grains that makes me feel so…responsible. I feel like one of those people who remembers to take their daily multivitamin or always wears sunscreen. I feel like I’m taking care of myself as opposed to eating short ribs and skillet cake all the time (not that I didn’t enjoy every minute of that!) And responsibility doesn’t necessarily mean eating cardboard. Farro is earthy, chewy and quite tasty – especially when mixed with goodies like kale and sweet potatoes. This is easy enough for a weekday; and if you’re feeling especially responsible, you can bring it work for lunch tomorrow instead of Mexican takeout (Doh!)
The UN declared quinoa the official grain of 2013, but to me, that’s so last season. Bring on the Farro! This ancient Italian grain is popping up at all the trendiest restaurants which is great because it’s super healthy. We’re talking fiber, minimal gluten content and a host of vitamins. It’s also the perfect base for a hearty winter stew or creamy risotto. Tonight I kept things simple. I made a seasonal grain salad with roasted sweet poatoes and sauteed kale, adding some toasty pine nuts for additional crunch. If you want to stay traditional, you can certainly use Parmesan cheese, but those little tangy pockets of goat cheese are what made this dish. Enjoy!
Minimal ingredients required. You could easily sub your sweet potato for any type of winter squash and use any other type of seasonal green in place of kale. This was one of those miraculous occasions when I just used what was on hand and it came out fantastic.
Doesn’t responsibility look good? Please focus on the farro and not the fact that I desperately need a manicure. A Crumb Coated Life is a life of chipped nails I suppose. Opt for semi-pearled farro, which requires less cooking time than regular farro; but retains the nutritional content. Follow the cooking instructions on the package, as cooking times vary depending on which type you purchase.
Chop your sweet potato into bite-sized cubes. Toss in a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then roast it at 400 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes. You want it cooked through, but not mushy. I would recommend testing a bite first.
Separate kale leaves from stems (I used Tuscan kale), and then chop into bite sized pieces.
When your farro is cooked through, it will be chewy but not crunchy. Drain any excess water and set it aside to cool before adding the remaining ingredients.
You will want to saute your kale for just a few minutes. It should be slightly softened and vibrant green, but not soggy. Pour kale and excess oil into the farro.
While you’re waiting for farro and sweet potatoes to cook, toast your pine nuts. I find it works best on a skillet, so you can watch what you’re doing and make sure they don’t burn. Just put them on medium-low heat and keep shaking the pan to toss them. They’re done when they are nice and golden, but not brown.
Add your toasted pine nuts and roasted sweet potatoes to the farro. Squeeze in about 1 tablespoon lemon juice and toss everything.
Add some bits of crumbled goat cheese (you don’t need much) and gently toss again. You’re ready to go!
Farro Salad with Sweet Potato, Kale and Goat Cheese
Makes 4-6 Servings
- 1 cup semi-pearled farro
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3 cups kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled into pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss sweet potato in about 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 25-30 minutes or until soft, but not mushy.
Cook farro according to package instructions. Drain excess water and set aside to cool.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, about one minute. Add kale and saute until just wilting but still vibrant green, about four minutes.
Pour kale and excess olive oil on the pan into the cooked farro. Add sweet potatoes, pine nuts and lemon juice. Gently toss to combine. Fold in crumbled goat cheese and add additional salt and pepper if needed.