Farro Chickpea Tomato Kale Salad

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During the week, the main times my husband and I see each other is during the morning – when our “farmer” babies rise around dawn (up to to milk the cows and pluck the chickens). We stumble amongst children and toys, he makes coffee and I throw together breakfast for our ravenous 17 month old (while simultaneously holding him) and juggle cartoon requests from the twins.  By the time he returns home from his long work day, I am either in bed, or virtually comatose on the sofa.

So one thing I like to try to do at least a few times a week – on a rocking week, every day- is pack a really nice lunch for him.  Sending him off with a nice, “grown-up” lunch helps alleviate the guilt I have over not getting too much quality time with him during the week.  And it makes me so happy to nourish the ones I love with food I took the time to think about composing, and then created into something wholesome and hopefully delicious.

I always try to do some batch cooking on Sundays and stock the fridge with a grain based salad (farro, quinoa, rice), some protein – poached salmon or baked chicken, and cut up fruit.  This doesn’t always happen, but the week goes so much easier when I have some fundamentals prepared in the fridge.  This becomes the building blocks for his lunches – and mine.  I always give some to the kids also, and it is generally received with less then enthusiastic responses.  But I continue to try.

Farro-Chickpea-Tomato-Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked farro (I found 10 minute farro at my supermarket- precooked- regular farro requires some soaking time - not a lot, 20-30 minutes- so just read your farro package for cooking directions and follow. I like to make the entire bag, measure out what I need for this and freeze the rest).
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 bunch kale, preferable lacinato kale (aka tuscan, dinosaur or black). Regular kale is fine also
  • 1 15.5oz can of chickpeas
  • 2 whole lemons
  • 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil divided (2 Tablespoons for kale preparation, 2 Tablespoons for finishing salad)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt for kale preparation and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for finishing salad
  • black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook farro according to package, then immediately rinse with cold water and place in large bowl.
  2. Add halved grape tomatoes to bowl with farro.
  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas and add those to the farro party.
  4. Tear off the kale leaves and put in large bowl - cover with water, agitate, then lift kale out and place on towel to dry.
  5. Dry off kale but no need to be obsessive about it - will be dressing it in a moment. Pile up on a cutting board and slice it into ribbons- "chiffonade"- easiest way to do this is stack up leaves, roll them up into a tube shape and then start slicing as thin as you can. I then give that pile a few chops to have them in smaller pieces.
  6. Place kale in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over it. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, !/4 teaspoon sea salt, and massage all of that together. You want to have the leaves absorb those flavors and soften up - it almost feels like kneading bread. Squish it together, rub leaves- it only takes a minute or so to soften up.
  7. Add that worked over kale to the farro bowl and using hands or a large spoon, toss everything together. Add juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, few grinds of black pepper and toss again to distribute.
http://modernfamilycooking.com/2012/09/09/farro-chickpea-tomato-kale-salad/

I use this in many different ways throughout the week:

  • Add some chicken and you have a nice, filling lunch.
  • Serve it as a side to salmon for dinner. Top salmon with some greek yogurt, a drizzle olive oil and salt, or some avocado slices with the same treatment and squeeze of lemon.
  •  Use a whole grain wrap, add feta to farro, and layer it on top hummus, add some avocado slices,  freshen with squeeze of lemon and olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.  Wrap it up. Lavash is nice to use as a wrap if you find it in your store.
  • Adding fresh mozzarella to the farro salad is another way to reinvent it.
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