Bright + Fresh Kale Salad with Farro and Chickpeas

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Meet the little black dress of kale salads! A simple (but yummy!) massaged kale salad with chewy farro and satisfying chickpeas in a bright + lemony dressing that makes for a super versatile side dish or light meal.

kale salad with farro and chickpeas
This kale salad with farro is super versatile and so easy to make!

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I would happily eat a kale salad every day of my life. No joke. 

I mean, have you tried my kale caesar salad yet? 

I’m fully embracing the fact that I sound like a dietitian cliche but to me, a massaged kale salad is just SO flavourful and satisfying that it’s hard to beat. Which is why I can grow 4 kale plants at once in my little garden with total confidence I’m gonna eat it allllllll up.

Healthy eating doesn’t need to be complicated: you guys know I’m all about adding nutrition. So I wanted to build a simple and tasty kale salad that makes it easy to add more plants to any meal. This vegan salad is a super versatile side dish that will cozy right up to whatever else you’re serving, whether it’s a burger, pasta or just some baked tofu.

The key to a really scrumptious kale salad? Texture and contrast: tender massaged kale wrapped in a bright + lemony dressing with chewy, nutty farro, creamy chickpeas and a bit of crunchy cucumber and sunflower seeds. 

This is a good back pocket recipe when you need to throw together a cold salad to clear out your fridge: add any cooked whole grains, beans, nuts and veggies you like to the kale base. Just keep that balance of crunch + chew, creamy and fresh. Maybe some vegan feta and tomato? Shaved fennel, dried cherries and white beans? The sky is the limit!

And if you want to build a heartier salad with main course energy, just double either the farro or the chickpeas for more filling fibre and plant-based protein.

Easy peasy…and ready in under 20 minutes. So let’s talk technique, because there is one thing you need to know to make kale salads actually enjoyable.

Why you need to massage your kale

Ever bite into a kale salad that was so tough it was annoying to chew? Or, maybe it felt like the leaves didn’t really soak up the dressing, so it was bland…or worse, bitter? Well, that’s why you need to massage your kale. Sounds weird, but it’s science.

All you are doing is scrunching some dressing, oil or even lemon juice into the kale leaves, almost like mixing a dough with your hands. It starts to break down the cell walls in the kale so in a minute or two, the kale will decrease in volume and the leaves will be tender and glossy and WAY more delicious to eat. 

Hungry? Here’s the step by step

kale farro salad with chickpeas
Last but not least: layer on the cooked farro, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and cucumber. Serve with the remaining lemon-dijon dressing (be generous…it’s sooooo good).

More epic kale salads

kale salad with farro and chickpeas

Bright + Fresh Kale Salad with Farro and Chickpeas

A simple (but yummy!) massaged kale salad with chewy farro and satisfying chickpeas in a bright + lemony dressing that makes for a super versatile side dish or light meal.

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  • 1 bunch curly kale, destemmed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup cooked farro, or your favourite gluten free grain
  • 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 batches Fresh Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
  • Place the kale pieces in a salad bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of the lemon-dijon dressing.

  • Massage the dressing into the kale leaves, almost like you’re kneading a dough. In 1-2 minutes, the leaves should look wilted, tender and glossy.

  • Layer on the cooked farro, chickpeas, cucumber and sunflower seeds. Serve with the remaining dressing and use it generously!

  • Not sure how to cook the farro? You’ll need about ½ cup dry farro for this salad. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Add farro and cook it like pasta, checking for doneness after 15 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. (different types of farro will have different cooking times). It will be chewy but tender.

Consider this salad recipe a guide! Change up the grains, beans, nuts + seeds depending on what you have on hand. Some vegan cheese or some diced apple, dried cranberries or cherries would be great here too.

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