Giant Dinner Salad

Giant dinner salad in a bowl

Giant Dinner Salads: if you know, you know. When the mood strikes, they can be your one-way ticket to total satisfaction, in a leafy-green kind of way. And, since more = more fun when it comes to salad, we’re adding farro, cheese (Parmesan is good but manchego is great), smoked almonds, sliced pears, and dried cranberries to this towering pile of good-for-you greens. This Giant Dinner Salad also features sliced chicken breast. But, you are welcome to leave that out for a meat-free situation and things will still be delicious.

Wow, wait. Can we talk about the dressing? Lemon juice, orange juice, shallots, garlic, honey mustard, and olive oil all combine for what might be the only salad dressing I need going forward. The idea of adding honey mustard (and the whole inspiration for this salad) came from Susan Spungen’s cookbook Open Kitchen. Joey gave me this book for Christmas and I have been reaching for it several times a week since then. Every single recipe so far has been a hit.

giant dinner salad in a bowl

things to know about making a totally delicious, giant dinner salad

Before you turn yourself loose on this salad, let’s go over a few things.

  1. Your food processor and its slicing blade are your friend when it comes to prepping kale for a salad – just roughly chop it then run it through the processor. And don’t skip massaging the kale in step two of the recipe. Even though those leafy greens are thinly sliced, they still need a little hands-on TLC. Here’s the food processor/slicing blade I’m talking about but you could also use the regular all-purpose blade with similar results:
food processor with slicing blade

And here is the result: a compact bowl of perfectly processed green goodness. Amazing.

sliced kale in a food processor

2. If you are going to include chicken in your Giant Dinner Salad, coat the chicken breasts in oil and a tasty seasoning of your choice (I use McCormick’s Montreal Seasoning), then bake them at 350 for 30 minutes. After you slice the chicken breasts, toss the slices in the juices left behind on the pan. You will not regret this step:

roasted chicken on a sheet pan

3. This Giant Dinner Salad features cooked farro, which is chewy, delicious, and good for you. According to Good Housekeeping, farro has a lot going for it – it’s a whole grain, low in fat, high in fiber, and contains magnesium, iron, and zinc. But, cooking it can be kind of a pain — at least for me and my stove where the lowest burner setting still feels like medium. On the other hand, cooking farro in a rice cooker is a snap. Just combine one cup of farro + two cups of water or stock, and cook using the brown rice setting. It works like a charm.

4. You can make this Giant Dinner Salad ahead of time. I find it keeps well for about 4 days in the fridge.

Friends, I feel like you have all the info you need to enter into Giant Dinner Salad greatness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

giant dinner salad in a bowl

*This post and recipe contain Amazon Affiliate links to some of my kitchen ride-or-dies. A food processor, delicious smoky almonds, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and the rice cooker I never knew was missing from my life. Plus, the cookbook I’ve been obsessed with lately! If you click on these things and make a purchase, I may earn a commission.

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Giant Dinner Salad

One huge dinner salad packed with leafy greens (kale!), chicken, fruit, nuts, and cheese, plus a bright, citrusy dressing. Bonus: this salad is great for meal prep — it keeps well for about 4 days.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner

Ingredients

Scale

for the dressing

  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 TBS honey mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C olive oil

for the salad

  • 2 bunches of kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped or one 10 oz bag of kale
  • 1 1/4 C cooked farro (see notes)
  • 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled or baked in the oven (see notes), and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C smoked, salted almonds, coarsely chopped (I used Blue Diamond brand – buy them on Amazon!), plus more for garnish
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced (substitute an apple, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 C grated manchego or parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Instructions

for the dressing

  1. Whisk together all ingredients, saving the olive oil for last – drizzle it in as you whisk. I used a large measuring cup for this so I could just measure as I went. Alternatively, just add all the ingredients to a mason jar and shake. 

for the salad

  1. Use a food processor with the slicing blade attached (see picture above) to finely chop the kale – just carefully push the chopped kale through the feeding tube.  Or you can use the regular all-purpose blade; either one works – the all-purpose blade results in smaller, more finely chopped pieces. 
  2. Transfer the kale to a large bowl and massage it with your hands for a minute or two. If you skip this step, your salad will be tough to chew. 
  3. Add the farro, chicken, nuts, pears, cranberries, and cheese to the kale, drizzle it all with the dressing, and toss to coat. Garnish with some extra nuts, cranberries, and cheese, and serve! 

Notes

  • The unofficial best way to cook farro is in a rice cooker – just combine one cup of farro + two cups of water or stock, and cook using the brown rice setting. A rice cooker is the small appliance I never knew I needed – I use it at least once a week. You can make the farro for this salad a day or two ahead if you like. 
  • To cook chicken breasts in the oven, coat them olive oil or spritz with canola oil spray and season with your favorite seasoning (Montreal seasoning works perfectly), or just some salt and pepper. Then, roast them in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly, thinly slice them, and don’t forget to toss them in all those juices that collected on the pan. Obviously, you can do this ahead of time or any leftover chicken you have on hand works as well!
  • This salad keeps well in the fridge for about 4 days.  

Keywords: what to do with leftover farro, winter salad, grain salad, grain bowl, dinner salad, kale salad

For more salad ideas, check out this Charred Corn Salad and this Steak and Apple Salad

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