Every month I have the privilege of getting together with a small group of women under the pretense of discussing a book. While we always devote at least a minute or two to the book, we spend most of our time catching up on each other’s lives over dinner.
This past Sunday was no exception. We laughed a lot, commiserated some, and ate a memorable meal together. My friend who was hosting this month has serious food-style. She’s got a knack for making approachable, soul-warming food and then giving it a bit of a twist. She makes it looks effortless, yet I always push back my chair from her table feeling inspired.
For dinner this week, she made a hearty bowl of white beans and paired it with the most vibrant, exquisite salad. I swear most of my hunger originates with my eyes and I couldn’t stop picking at this salad even after serving myself two large helpings. To say, it’s colorful is an understatement and despite its visual appeal, it also combines unexpected flavors to make a satisfying meal or side dish.
While inspiration started with this salad that my friend had stumbled upon on Pinterest, she deserves credit for the kale and cranberries. Like that perfect scarf that makes the outfit, adding kale and cranberries is an imaginative touch that I wouldn’t dare leave off in recreating this dish.
I’ve been thinking about this salad all week and what you’ll find below is my take on it. I recreated the salad from memory and added toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to the salad for a little crunch. While you can certainly follow the recipe below, I urge you to tweak and add ingredients based on your own food style. Happy cooking!
Kale Salad with Bell Peppers, Cranberries, Edamame, & Farro with Orange Vinaigrette – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 3 as a light lunch; 6 as a side dish for a larger meal
This recipe has undergone many adaptations and I hope it will undergo many more. Whatever changes you make, be sure to keep the color. It’s what truly makes it shine.
For the orange vinaigrette:
Juice from 1½ medium oranges (about ½ cup)
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar (white wine or rice vinegar can be substituted)
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
3 cups chopped lacinato kale (remove large stems prior to chopping)
½ cup dried farro, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 ¼ cups chopped bell peppers (for color, I used red, orange, & yellow peppers)
1/3 cup ready-to-eat edamame soybeans
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the fresh squeezed orange juice, champagne vinegar, sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.
Add ¼ cup of the dressing to a large bowl. Add the kale, cooked farro, and bell peppers and toss to coat. Add the edamame and cranberries and toss to combine. Add more dressing if needed. Transfer to a serving platter or keep the salad in the bowl.
Heat the pumpkin seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss occasionally and toast until golden brown. As they toast, the pumpkins seeds will swell and make a popping sound. This is a good thing; don’t be alarmed.
Scatter the toasted pumpkin seeds over the salad and serve immediately with any leftover dressing on the side.
Nikki Sawyer Moore offers hands-on cooking classes and private dinners in the comfort of your own home through her business, FOOD LOVE (www.n2foodlove.com). She also teaches group cooking classes and hosts corporate team-building/private events at The Kitch in Cornelius. When not in your kitchen, Nikki enjoys writing about food and sharing her recipes through her blog (mincedblog.com) Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org