The holidays are a time when we tend to indulge a little more than we should. My feeling is that if I want to enjoy an extra Christmas cookie (or two) during the holiday season, I am not going to beat myself up about it. I do however try and eat healthy meals to help balance out the holiday excess. Grain salads are an excellent option for healthy eating, are hearty enough on their own to be satisfying as a light meal, and the flavor combinations are endless. I created this salad with the holidays in mind and loved the combination of flavors. This salad would be perfect for lunch during this busy month, and would also be an excellent side dish for a holiday potluck or family get together.
Farro is an ancient grain that is also called emmer in some parts of the world. This high-fiber food is quickly becoming a gourmet specialty. Farro is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and nutrients like magnesium and iron, and has a nutty flavor that goes well with many ingredients. Farro should be cooked just until it is tender to the bite, but it should still be relatively firm. Nothing is worse than overcooked, mushy farro in a salad! To cook your farro, simply bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and then drop in your farro and cook until tender, or “al dente”. I often used pearled farro in my salads, which cooks quicker than regular farro, taking just about 15 minutes to cook. Just check your package directions as cooking time will depend on the variety of farro you choose.
I prefer a vibrant dressing for my grain and veggie salads combining cider vinegar, honey, olive oil and Dijon mustard. This dressing melds the salad ingredients together and creates a dish with LOTS of flavor. This salad stores well in the refrigerator and leftovers are just as good the following day. Farro is a heart-healthy grain and combined with kale, sweet potatoes, and nuts will add nutritional value to your meal.
Deborah Mele 2017
Holiday Farro Salad With Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Dried Cranberries, & Pistachios
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Medium or 1 Large Sweet Potato, Peeled & Cut Into 1-inch Dice
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Cups Cooked Farro
- 3 Cups Finely Chopped Kale
- 2 Stalks Celery, Diced
- 3/4 Cup Chopped Pistachios
- 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
- 3 – 4 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and lay on an aluminum foil wrapped baking sheet.
- Bake 15 minutes, turn, then cook another 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the farro, sweet potatoes, kale, celery, pistachios, cranberries, and onion.
- Pour half the dressing over the farro mixture and toss.
- Taste, and add additional dressing as needed.