I’m still aliveee🙋🏻!! Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately, it’s been a little wild over here with the cottage! It’s like everything was moving so slowly then boom, everything happened at the same time and I’ve been here everyday for the past 2 weeks running around like a crazy person. *But* all good and very exciting so no complaints😅.
Anyways, hope you are all doing great! Halloween is Tomorrow so that means in 3 days we start getting ready for the Holidays and listening to Christmas music, right🎄? K, good… just wanted to make sure🤭
I have sooo many favourite Holiday recipes so now that things will slow down a little over here I’m going to share as much as I can with you! But, before we dive right into all the Indulgence, let’s make a salad!! A Farro Fall Salad with all the good stuff: Delicata Squash, Kale, Dates, Pepitas with an Orange Maple Vinaigrette! It screams Fall, Holiday side dish and bonus, it’s Vegetarian/Vegan. I feel like we’re always for more Veg options, so this is great.
So Farro, are you guys familiar with it? It’s a whole-grain similar to barley & wheat berries. Same texture ish (I find it has a bit more chew than barley), similar in flavour, high in fiber, high in protein, great in soups, salads and even Risottos (it’s actually called Farrotto, and it’s delicious). I’m pretty sure there are a few different varieties, some cook faster than others. Which ever one you can find at the store is great. I cook it in a small saucepan covered with water and some salt for about 30 minutes then drain out the excess water but you could also just follow the directions on the package.
Now let’s go through the other components of this salad:
Probably my favourite squash to eat as is. You don’t have to peel it; the skin is completely edible. Just remove the seeds, toss in some EVOO, Salt & Pepper and roast in at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or so. If you want to have those pretty flower shape like rings, simply cut the squash in half (vertically in the middle) and scoop out the seeds. I use a melon baller and it works great. You could also slice it horizontally and scoop out the seeds, you’ll get half flower rings😉.
We should all eat more Kale am I right? It’s so good for us✔✔. A few years ago, I was watching a cooking show, and they changed my Kale game💯. Raw kale can be tough and have quite the chew, slightly bitter and some people find that unpleasant in a salad. Enter: Massaging the Kale. Yes, you are going to massage your Kale!! Not always, but in Salads it’s key, changes the whole texture, takes some of the bitterness away and it’s just what you have to do, k🤗? First off, remove the leaves from the stem (that’s also key, don’t chop up the stem into your salad). If you start from the bottom and run your fingers along the stem (like a claw), the leaves will slide right off. Once all the leaves are removed, discard the stems and chop the kale leaves into bite size pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with a little EVOO, get your hands in there and start massaging. Massage for a good 2-4 minutes. You will notice a slight change in colour and obviously texture. Give it a taste and once it’s to your liking, set it aside until ready to use. Now if you’re adding Kale to a braise, soup or pasta, no need to massage it because you are going to cook it anyways. Also, there are quite a few varieties of Kale but you can use the one you prefer for this recipe. I usually go with either Curly Kale or Tuscan kale (also known as Lacinato Kale) because those are usually the varieties I get in my veggie baskets or at the Market. For this particular recipe, you’ll need 4 cups chopped (measure it before you massage it).
Dates, I absolutely love them. Especially soft & sweet Medjool Dates. Dates aren’t just for desserts (although is there anything better in life than Sticky Toffee Pudding?🤤🤤), they are great to add in salads, stuffed with cheese & wrapped in prosciutto for a fancy dinner party app, or just the perfect little sweet treat after dinner. I would opt out of those dates you buy in the baking section of the grocery store. Those are good for baking and that’s pretty much it. But for snacking and this salad, splurge a little on the good ones!! You’ll need ½ cup pitted Medjool Dates, and a few more for topping.Pepitas:
Aka, Pumpkin Seeds. I think all salads need a crunchy element so here it is. Also, it goes with my “Fall Salad” theme I have going on here. If you don’t have Pepitas, you could totally swap. Pistachios would be really nice in here, even walnuts or pecans, go wild, it’s your salad🥗!
Orange & Maple Vinaigrette:
YUM, that’s pretty much it. It’s tangy, sweet and perfect for this salad. I also added the zest of the orange in the salad to really bring out that orange flavour but that’s optional. So, Fresh OJ, Maple Syrup, White Balsamic, Shallots, EVOO and Salt & Pepper. Shake it up in a jar and that’s that.
If you want to make it for dinner but want to prep it in advance, you can totally do that but I would just add the dressing like 15 minutes before serving. You want it to let it hang out in the dressing a few minutes before serving. If you have leftovers (I’ve been eating some for the last two days) and it’s still delicious but it’s a little “dryer”. I gave it a little splash of EVOO & either white balsamic or a squeeze of Orange juice!!
Awwwwww, guys. I have so many recipes I want to share with you (like particularly Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Scones with Brown Butter Glaze, Roasted Carrot Hummus) but just give me like another week or so to get settled in here and then I’m all yours! Thanks for your patience & following along😘.
Make this salad ASAP, tell me if you love it and I’ll be back soon!
Farro Fall Salad, pretty much my dream Salad. Healthy, Delicious, Vegetarian, Vegan, Satisfying, Beautiful, need any more convincing? Delicata Squash, Kale, Pepitas, Dates with an Orange Maple Vinaigrette. You’re Welcome 🙂
- 1 Cup Farro, dry
- 1 Delicata Squash, washed, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 4 Cups Kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 Cup Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
- The zest of one Orange, optional
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Orange Juice, about half a large orange
- 2 TBSP White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 TBSP EVOO
- 1 TBSP Maple Syrup
- 3 TBSP minced shallots
- Salt & Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside until ready to use.
- Wash the Delicata Squash. Slice either vertically in the middle or horizontally lengthwise. Remove the seeds, then slice into 1/4″ slices. Drizzle with EVOO, season with Salt & Pepper. Give it a mix so everything is well coated and spread on the baking sheet. Put in the oven for approximately 30 minutes flipping half way through.
- While the Squash is cooking you can cook the Farro. Cook 1 cup dried Farro per the package directions. Set aside to cool. Even if it’s still slightly warm that’s ok.
- Wash & Stem the kale. Chop it up and measure 4 cups. Add the Kale to a large mixing bowl, drizzle lightly with EVOO, season with salt and massage the Kale with your hands for 2-4 minutes (details about this step are in post).
- To the massaged Kale, add the cooled Farro, the pitted chopped dates, and the zest of an orange (optional).
- In a mason jar, add 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup, white balsamic, EVOO, minced shallots, salt and pepper. Give it a shake and add to the Farro mixture.
- Mix everything together, give it a taste and adjust seasoning. Add the delicata squash and mix carefully not to break up the squash to much.
- Sprinkle the salad with the Pepitas and serve.
*This Salad is better enjoyed the same day but leftovers will hold up nicely in the fridge for a few days. It might be a little dry, just jazz it up with a little more EVOO and Orange Juice.