Kale and Farro Salad

DSCF0001As the winter offerings at my local farmer’s market grow scarce, the bundles of kale grow bigger.  I think it’s a silent thank you for continuing to brave the winter winds to shop the market even after much of the color has vanished from the offerings.  There are still apples, cabbages, onions, and greens, but the vibrant hues of fresh produce has thinned.  In any case, I have an enormous quantity of kale in my fridge and so while I usually juice my kale, I thought I would try this unusual salad.

You must like coconut to proceed.  Toasted coconut flavor will dominate every mouthful of this salad and under that there will be a layer of Asian flare from the sesame oil and soy sauce.  I wasn’t certain after my first bite, but then I went for more, more, and eventually, a second helping.

This recipe, like so many of the ones I have been making lately, is from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 3 1/2 cups lightly packed kale, chopped (or a bit more, be generous with your kale servings)
  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut or 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, large-flake coconut (the first time you might want to go light on the coconut)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (alternative suggested by Swanson are shoyu or tamari sauce, but I have never cooked with either of those)

Directions

  1. Cook the farro and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the kale and coconut.  Mix 2/3 of the oil mixture in and coat evenly.
  5. Spread the kale across a baking sheet or two.  Bake for 12 – 18 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown.  Toss occasionally and make sure the kale doesn’t become too brown.
  6. Mix in with the farro and add the remaining oil.  Serve warm.

Lentil and Farro Curry Soup

After a week at my brother-in-law’s with nary a vegetable in sight, I craved something healthy to spoon into my mouth.  (The food at my brother-in-law’s was good.  Christmas cookies galore– seriously, breakfast, lunch, and dinner– and my sister-in-law roasted a turkey with commendably crisped skin, etc., etc., but I don’t count mashed potatoes as a vegetable and started having concerns about scurvy….)  I don’t feel good when I don’t eat well, so after our seven hour return car trip (thank you, my dear husband, for driving the whole thing!) I went immediately to the bookshelf for Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook.  This soup, the very first recipe that my eye fell upon, was exactly what I was after: easy to prepare, relatively quick, super healthy, nearly all the ingredients were already in the house (I had to nip out for an onion, but that, after all, is just poor planning on my part), and my husband, carnivore that he is, would eat it too (he has a soft soft for lentils and Indian spices).  Perfect!

A note on farro: This grain is not carried at all supermarkets.  I usually buy it at Trader Joe’s (reasonably priced), although in a pinch you can throw down extra green and procure it at Whole Foods.  But, and this is delightful, the last time I was at Costco, they had large bags of farro!  If it is selling at Costco next to the quinoa, then I know it will take off at your local grocery store any day now.  People are joining my farro celebration (it’s super tasty and good for you).

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 cup peeled and diced sweet potato (one small sweet potato)
  • Salt
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2/3 cup semi-pearled farro (you can use whole farro, just double the cooking time)
  • 1 1/4 cups green lentils
  • 6 cups water (or vegetable broth– my husband is campaigning for a chicken broth substitution….)
  • Kale (a palm full or more to taste), chopped up into very tiny pieces

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the onions and sweet potato.  Season with salt and saute until the onions start to soften (a few minutes).
  3. Add the curry powder (the amount varies defending on taste– I like a generous helping) and stir until everything is coated and fragrant (about a minute).
  4. Add the farro, lentils, kale, and liquid.
  5. Bring to a boil, decrease heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes (until the lentils and farro are thoroughly cooked).
  6. Taste and season with salt as necessary.

Heidi Swanson also recommends the soup be served with a dollop of lemony-Greek yogurt and a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil.  My husband doesn’t like lemony food, but the yogurt certainly makes for a fancier presentation (and I think it’s good).  Here’s how to make it:

Lemony Greek Yogurt garnish

Zest and juice half a lemon.  Stir in 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir and serve on top of soup.

Serves 8 people.

Hearty Farro with Tomatoes (One Pot Dish)

DSCF0004Thank you Smitten Kitchen for this delicious and easy recipe.  Smitten Kitchen does a far better job than me describing and photographing (plus inventing– or at least heavily borrowing and re-working) this recipe, but here are the bones of it for my own record (and this recipe is a keeper!).

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 9 ounces tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t want that zing)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • a few fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Soak farro in medium pot with water while preparing everything else.  As you prepare, add ingredients to the pot.
  2. Slice onion, garlic, tomatoes, and add salt and red pepper. Add oil. Mix. Turn burner on to high and set timer for 30 minutes. When the pot begins to boil, reduce to simmer.
  3. Stir it up (check for done-ness), sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.

This recipe makes enough for two as a meal or four as a side. For my WW friends, the whole pot is 12 points, so half is 6pts, and if you divide by four, 3pts. It’s super easy, filling, and tasty. Great for a weeknight.