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Giant Dinner Salad

One huge dinner salad packed with leafy greens (kale!), chicken, fruit, nuts, and cheese. What else do you need in life? A bright, citrusy dressing of course – and this salad has that, too! Bonus: You can do most of the work a day ahead.

Ingredients

Scale

for the dressing

  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS 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 chop the kale – just carefully push the chopped kale through the feeding tube. This is much easier and less messy than thinly slicing kale by hand!
  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! (See notes about making the salad ahead of time – totally doable!)

Notes

  • The unofficial best way to cook farro is in a rice cooker on 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 and any leftover chicken you have on hand will do, as well.
  • You can even make the salad part of this salad ahead if you want! It actually only gets tastier if you toss the kale, farro, and dried cranberries in the dressing and let it all sit overnight. Just add the chicken, smoked almonds, pears, and cheese before serving. 

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