Autumn Farro Salad with Tart Cherries, Kale, Pecans, and Honeycrisp Apples can be served as a healthy, vegetarian entree or a wonderful side dish at Thanksgiving. The vinaigrette dressing is a sweet/tart combination of Dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Autumn in a bowl!
Farro is an ancient Roman wheat grain with an earthy, hearty flavor profile. It is similar to rice or barley. In fact, farro can be used for a great Risotto too. Alessi has a good Italian organic, medium size, pearled Farro grain. If you can't find the Alessi brand, Bob's Red Mill has a great Organic Farro too. Farro cooks in about 15 minutes, and is best when cooked al dente (to the tooth).
Add some bright red, dried tart cherries and bright green, chopped kale for color. The maple/balsamic vinaigrette dressing pairs beautifully with the apples and pecans. Honeycrisp are my favorite apples. Granny Smith would work too. You can also add some crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese for an extra kick. This will become one of your go-to Autumn recipes!
Be sure to pull off the thick rib spine of the fresh kale leaves. Chop into small pieces.
Prep all the ingredients, make the dressing, and toss together. Honestly I don't measure most of the ingredients. (FYI - I did measure for the purpose of the providing this recipe to you). Just toss in whatever your heart desires. Be creative. Substitute walnuts or sunflower seeds for the pecans. Use dried cranberries if you don't have dried tart cherries.
I served the Autumn Farro Salad with an elegant Duck Breast with Cherry and Port Sauce dish. Dinner was divine!
Autumn Farro Salad with Tart Cherries, Kale, Pecans, and Honeycrisp Apples
- 2 cups farro
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 larges kale leaves (makes about 1 cup) trimmed and chopped fine
- 1 cup whole pecans
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- ½ cup red onion minced
- 1 Honeycrisp Apple
- 1 lemon cut in half
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese optional
- In a large pot on the stovetop, add the water and salt. Bring to a boil. Add farro and cook for about 12 - 15 minutes until al dente. Stir occasionally. Drain in a colander and transfer farro to large serving bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the kale to the slightly cooled farro and toss to combine. The residual heat from the farro will soften the kale and turn it a brighter green. Allow the farro/kale mixture to cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally to speed the cooling process.
- Toast the pecans over medium-low heat in a dry, non-stick saute pan for about 4-6 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. Transfer the pecans to a board and rough chop.
- Core and dice the apple. Juice half a lemon over the apple pieces to prevent browning. Toss to evenly coat.
- Add the pecans, red onion, dried cherries, and apple to the cooled farro and kale. Toss all to combine.
- To make the dressing, add the salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup to small glass bowl. With a hand whisk, mix to thoroughly combine. Add the white balsamic vinegar and juice from the remaining lemon half and whisk to combine again. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a small stream until emulsified.
- Add one half of the dressing to the farro salad and toss to coat. Add more dressing a little at a time until it is just coated but not saturated. Reserve extra dressing for another meal.
- Lastly, if desired, fold in the crumbled gorgonzola cheese.
- Serve room temperature or chilled.
- The Farro Salad can be made the day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.