Elyse Kopecky is a social media consultant and whole foods chef based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS she left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at www.freshabits.com and @freshabits.
Foodist Approved: Kale + Radicchio Superhero Salad with Farro
by Elyse Kopecky
The flavors of this salad combined with the al dente texture of the farro make for a salad reminiscent of a bowl of fresh pasta tossed in olive oil, garlic and lemon.
Do you find yourself making the same salad night after night? Let me guess (and I speak to you now from my own past habits), does it include baby spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and maybe a few sugar-loaded dried cranberries, plus a drizzle of store-bought dressing (also sugar-loaded)? No wonder you aren’t excited to eat it.
Enter kale salads. If you’ve dined out recently you’ve probably noticed that kale salads are making appearances everywhere, from pizza joints to upscale farm-to-table restaurants. Thanks to some top chefs kale has recently gained celebrity status, and for good reason. Kale works great in a variety of dishes and is especially delicious in salads. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for spinach losing some of the limelight.
Ready to up your salad repertoire? You won’t be disappointed by my recipe for Kale + Radicchio Superhero Salad with farro, walnuts and Parmesan all tossed in a lemon garlic dressing. I aptly named this dish Superhero Salad because it incorporates a range of my favorite nutrient-dense ingredients for strength and energy. And don’t frown at the parmesan cheese. Yes, hard cheeses are healthy.
If Popeye ate spinach, then Batman and Wonder Woman ate bowls and bowls of kale salad.
Note: Recipe requires prep in advance. I recommend cooking the farro and marinating the kale the night before.
Recipe for Kale + Radicchio Superhero Salad with Farro
Yield: Makes 8 servings.
- 1 large bunch kale; rinse, dry, remove stems
- 1 small head radicchio; rinse, remove outer leaf and core
Grains / Breads
- 1 ½ c. farro (or other favorite whole grain)
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ¼ c. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 tsp miso paste, white or yellow
- ¼ c. + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ¾ c. grated parmesan cheese
- ½ c. raw walnuts, chopped
Combine the farro in a medium saucepan with the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered until the farro is tender, 20 – 45 minutes. Cooking time depends on if you are using pearled farro or whole farro. I prefer whole farro and am patient with the 45 minutes. It’s hard to overcook farro.
Drain farro and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Once cool, cover and refrigerate.
Chop the kale into bite size pieces. Place the kale in a large salad bowl.
Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, miso, ¼ cup olive oil, ground pepper and salt. Pour this dressing over the kale. With clean hands massage the dressing into the kale.*
Chop the radicchio and toss into the salad along with ½ cup parmesan, walnuts and farro. Taste and drizzle with additional olive oil or salt if needed.
Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with remaining Parmesan prior to serving.
*Yes, massaging the kale salad is just what it sounds like. You get to use your hands to work the dressing into the leaves. Kale is a fibrous vegetable, but massaging it with an acidic dressing helps to break down the kale to make it more digestible.