• Abby Estevez

Fall Farro Kale Salad

Now that fall is here and it's already getting chilly, let's switch over those wardrobes and switch over to some hearty fall produce.

I am absolutely in love with this salad, it is overflowing with delicious flavors! This is a salad made for dinner; serve yourself a big bowl of it, pour a glass of red wine and a chunk of crusty bread. Nothing to regret right? It's healthy-ish.

Don't you want to just dive right in? Or make this your phone's wallpaper... okay, too far.

I have separated the ingredients below by each component of the salad.

Don't be worried by the long list.

Fall Farro Salad

Serves 3-4

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoon maple syrup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt 

1/2 medium Butternut squash, cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)

1/2 teaspoon thyme

4 slices of thick cut bacon

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon rosemary

2 6oz chicken breasts, grilled and sliced

Salt & pepper

1 cup farro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 6oz chicken breasts, grilled and sliced

Salt & pepper

1 shallot, sliced thin

19 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)

salt & pepper, to taste

3 cups kale, torn and massaged

3 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and prepare a sheet pan with aluminum foil. We are first going to make the candied pecans, so they can sit and cool.

Measure out 1 cup of whole pecans and roughly chop them into smaller bites. Melt the 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a medium sauté pan over medium low heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the maple syrup, brown sugar and sea salt. Gently whisk till the sugar is fully melted, then mix in the pecans. Using a rubber spatula, ensure all pecans are evenly coated with the sugar mixture, then dump onto the sheet tray and evenly spread out into one layer. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Set the oven to now preheat up to 400 degrees.

While the oven preheats, prepare the butternut squash. There is no shame in buying cubes of butternut squash, it is such a pain to cut! If you are using a full squash, please ensure you are using a SHARP knife, keep it pointed down and away while cutting. I have found it's most manageable by first cutting off both ends, then cutting in half horizontally (if you're a 90's kid, that means hamburger). Take one of the halves and turning as you go, slice off the rind. Then continue to dice the half and move onto the next.

Once you have your squash fully diced (I bought a medium sized squash, so I did cook the entire piece; leftovers of these will be a tasty problem to have). Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and add the diced butternut squash. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the minced garlic and thyme. Toss throughly to combine and place in center rack of the oven, allow to bake for 20-25 minutes. Once finished, remove from oven and allow to cool.

While the squash is cooking, prepare a second sheet tray, with aluminum foil for the bacon. Take 4 slices of thick cut bacon and line them on the sheet tray. Drizzle over with 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon of rosemary. Add tray to oven above squash and cook till crispy, about 8-10 minutes. After cooling, roughly chop the bacon.

TIP TIME: Anytime I cook bacon, I always allow the bacon to cool on a paper towel lined plate. This helps absorb the excess grease and keep the bacon crispy.

Next, pat dry chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. I will be grilling mine in a grill pan on my stovetop, over medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Once cooked through (4 minutes each side), set on a cutting board to cool. Once cooled, cut into bite size pieces or evenly slice, your preference.

In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse 1 dry cup of farro in a mesh strainer. Add farro to boiling water and allow to come back to a boil, adjust heat to medium-high boil uncovered for 30 minutes or until the farro becomes soft. Drain off excess water through a mesh strainer, return farro to the pot. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, mix thoroughly and set aside to cool. 

While the farro cooks, let’s prepare the vinaigrette and beans. In a large bowl, combine the lemon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Next, thinly slice the shallot, mince the garlic and add both to the bowl. Rinse the cannellini beans and add to the bowl. Mix well and set aside at room temperature.

Tear the leafy greens off the tough stems of kale. Tear greens into comfortable bite size pieces, measure out about 3 cups of torn kale. Massage the kale between your hands as you add to the bowl with the beans a vinaigrette.

Toss in half the candied pecans and half the butternut squash (save the rest for another salad). Add in the chopped bacon and chicken, then, top off with crumbled goat cheese. Toss well to combine and ENJOY!

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