Farro with kale and cranberries – a hearty grain side dish

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Farro pilaf with kale and cranberries

We still have winter boots in a heap by the back door. It’s not that we think we’ll need them again before December. It’s late April afterall and even if it snows again (which it won’t) there’s no way any of us wants to put winter boots on again. We’d rather have cold soggy sneakers. It’s that whole winter-to-spring transition that I struggle with. The effort required to put the winter stuff away and haul out all of the spring and summer things.

I have the same season-change challenge with my cooking. On the sunny spring days I don’t feel like heavy winter stews but I can’t quite recall my go-to dishes for spring. My gear shifting is slow.

This farro with kale and cranberries is a good bridge between the two seasons.

It can be hot and hearty in the winter but a warm side dish as spring rolls around. I created the recipe as a way to use up some leftover kale and realised that molasses is the perfect sweetener to stand up to kale and heavy grains. I chop my kale fairly fine so my kids don’t try to pick it out. (So far, so good.) Also, adding navy beans would turn this into a filling main dish.

 

Farro with kale and cranberries (and molasses vinaigrette)

  • 1 cup of farro (barley or brown rice work well too)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • Half a bunch of kale (about 6 stalks, leafy parts only), washed and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice and zest of one lemon
  • Cook farro (or your grain of choice) according to package instructions. Fluff and set aside.

Over medium heat saute the onion in a tablespoon or two of olive oil. When softened add the kale.

Stir and cover to let the kale wilt. Stir frequently so the kale cooks evenly. This should take only 5 minutes or so.

When the kale is done to your liking, turn the heat to low, stir in the farro and toss with the dressing (recipe below…you won’t need all of it).

Add the dried cranberries & walnuts. Season with sea salt & pepper.

Add the lemon zest and juice. Serve warm.

Molasses vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt & pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a snug lid and give it a good shake to combine.

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