Warm hearty foods in winter are the way to my soul. Living in the Pacific Northwest, while winters are fairly mild and temperate compared to the chilly Midwest or Northeast, it is dark, drizzly, and you often find yourself soaked to the bone. So, when it comes time for dinner, warming up with a bowl of something toasty fills up your soul. This warm winter kale farro salad with hearty butternut squash, and a tangy creamy dijon dressing hits all the wickets.
Eating healthy can feel difficult in the winter months. I don’t know about you, but I find myself reaching for cheese, cream, and carbs once the temperatures turn cold. But, this kale farro salad is the perfect blend of healthy, hearty, and delicious. Even the creamy dressing is oil free, and doesn’t actually have any dairy in it! The creaminess comes from tangy dijon mustard, which also adds lots of flavor.
I am located in grow zone 8b which means winters are fairly temperate, especially compared to frigid winters elsewhere in the country. Because winters are traditionally pretty mild in the Pacific Northwest, even this time of year, we can still have kale growing in the garden. It isn’t feasible every winter, last winter for instance, there was a lot of snow. But, during years like this one with a warmer winter, growing kale now is actually better than in the summer months because there are no bugs! This kale was planted last spring, and harvested throughout the summer. But, instead of putting it to bed at the end of the summer season, you can try your luck leaving hearty vegetables, like kale, in your garden to see if you can continue to harvest throughout the fall and winter months.
This is Nero kale and is one of my favorite varieties to grow and eat. I didn’t have any in my garden this year, so I was lucky enough to be able to skip on over to Sandi’s garden and pick some out of her extra Nero kale to make this warm winter kale farro salad. The dark green color makes a dramatic impact in whatever recipe you’re using it in. While the leaves can get up to 2′ long, you’ll want to harvest when the leaves are about half that size to keep them from getting bitter.
Butternut Squash: 2-11
Learn more about your growing zone here.
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This warm and hearty winter kale farro salad is healthy, filling and satisfying. Roasted butternut squash can be substituted for your favorite squash types, such as delicate or acorn. To be dairy free, simply omit the sprinkled goat cheese on top. The dairy free dressing is creamy and tangy.
1 cup farro
3 cups water
1 small butternut squash
5–7 leaves of kale (about half a bundle)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 tbs crumbled goat cheese
2 tbs dijon mustard (or mustard of choice)
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs honey
1/2 fresh lemon juiced (or about 2 tbs lemon juice)
Cook farro according to directions or bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of farro, simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until farro is chewy and tender.
While farro is cooking, preheat oven to 425°
Slice butternut squash in half (tip to make this easier, poke holes all over butternut squash, and microwave for 4 minutes which makes the squash just tender enough to more easily slice)
Peel butternut squash
Cut butternut squash into 1″ cubes
Bake butternut squash at 425° for about 30 minutes, to get good charred bits, for the last couple minutes, turn oven on broil, and watch carefully. You can go from perfectly golden brown to burnt very quickly.
Wash kale carefully, when harvesting from the garden, little creatures like to sometimes hide in the folds.
Slice kale crosswise in 1″ wide strips.
Make dressing by combining mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, and lemon juice and set aside.
While farro is still hot, fold in kale, which will wilt the kale slightly without making it limp. Add in butternut squash, and walnuts, drizzle dressing and stir to combine.
Dish out, and top with crumbled goat cheese.
If you enjoy a plant based diet, simply omit the crumbled goat cheese. And, for our carnivorous folks, add grilled chicken or salmon on top and enjoy.
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: PNW Rustic