Recipe: Farro + Kale, Walnuts & White Beans

farro kaleI’ve never been shy about my love for farro (or kale for that matter), and walnuts felt like a perfect pairing for crunch, texture, flavor and good nutrition. White beans add a bit of protein, more fiber, and even more nutrition. What’s not to like. I added the cranberries with an eye to the upcoming holidays (while it’s still technically summer, fall is definitely in the air), you could leave them out if you are not a fan of sweet elements in your salads. Because farro is a sturdy grain and kale is a sturdy green, this holds up nicely for a few days in the fridge to enjoy as leftovers, perhaps packed in a mason jar (wink) as part of a brown bag lunch.

This recipe was originally published in my Seattle Times column, “Go with the (whole) grain.

Farro with Kale, Walnuts and White Beans

Serves 6-8

Try to go with unpearled farro, because that is the true “whole” form of this grain. (You’ll also see “pearled” and “semi-pearled,” which means some of the fiber has been lost). Farro is one grain where testing, more than time, will tell you when it’s done. I often check it the first time after it’s been simmering for 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry farro (unpearled)
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 small bunch kale, washed and dried
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain farro. Place in a medium sauce pan with the 3 cups water and the ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the grains are tender but still chewy. Drain off any excess water. Transfer farro to a large bowl.
  2. While farro cooks, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the walnuts are fragrant and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool before chopping.
  3. Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  4. Strip the kale leaves from their stems and slice into thin ribbons. You should have about 4 cups (if you have extra, reserve for another use). Place the kale in a medium-sized bowl and pour the dressing over it. Massage with your hands until the leaves are coated and soften slightly.
  5. Add the chopped walnuts, massaged kale, white beans, dried cranberries, feta cheese and chopped parsley to the bowl with the farro. Stir gently to combine. Add freshly ground pepper and additional salt to taste.
  6. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.