After that gut busting grilled cheese on Friday, here’s some healthy and delicious moderation. I have to say this is my preferred style of eating – not all salad — all the time, but a balancing act with a constant supply of wholesome foods and a few indulgences thrown in for good measure. Chicken Kale Farro Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette has a ton of flavor and it’s good for you too!
Ingredients in Chicken Kale Farro Salad
- Chicken (leftover or rotisserie is fine)
- Sweet Peppers
- Plum Tomatoes
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Kalamata Olives
What makes this chicken kale farro salad so inviting are the little treats you find along the way. A nugget of fresh mozzarella, a briny bite of kalamata olive and chewy hearty bits of farro. A satisfying blend of flavors and textures tossed into one bowl.
Why People Think They Don’t Like Kale…
Many people avoid kale, saying it’s too fibrous and hard to eat — which reminds me of a thing my Mom used to tell me I was a kid. I’d save my money to buy a pack of Bubble Yum bubble gum — you remember those giant wads, don’t you? I’d happily shove a piece of that over-sized gum into my mouth — chew, slurp and attempt to break it down into something I could blow a bubble with. She’d always say, “You look like a cow chewing its cud.” Ouch!!! But she was right.
That’s why many people avoid kale — it’s not tender and light… it takes a bit of work. But here’s how to do it with your hands, instead of your jaws.
Massaging and Mincing Kale
The key to tender kale is massaging and mincing.
- With your hands you literally rub and massage the kale aggressively for 1-2 minutes to break down the fibers — it makes the kale soft and very fragrant.
- When the kale is soft and smells like grass, bunch up as much kale and you can into a tight ball and use a very sharp knife to finely chop it. This will give you a tender kale farro salad. Promise.
In this salad I used about two cups of leftover chicken but you can also use rotisserie chicken or for a more indulgent bent — fried chicken tenders from the Deli. No judgement here.
Other Meat Proteins:
Swap out the meat for garbanzo beans or maybe some grilled tofu.
Eliminate the mozzarella and maybe toss in some toasted nuts.
Making The Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
This honey balsamic vinaigrette comes together quickly and it’s packed with flavor from the pungent garlic, creamy dijon, floral honey and tangy balsamic vinegar. Simply add the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to emulsify — that’s it.
Even with chopping the garlic it only takes about 5 minutes to put together and is way better than any store bought dressing. WAAAYYYYY!!!!!!
Meal Prep Staying Power
The ingredients in this salad can hold up for a few days in the fridge without going limp, so it’s perfect for make-ahead lunches during the week, provided you have a refrigerator at work or a freezer pack in your lunchbox to keep things cool. I have a feeling this will be in our regular work week rotation! Enjoy!
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Chicken Kale Farro Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
FOR THE CHICKEN KALE FARRO SALAD:
- 3/4 cup farro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 kale leaves, tough stems removed
- 1 chicken breast leftover cooked, sliced or cut into cubes
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 2 plum tomatoes seeded and diced
- 3/4 cup cucumber sliced, I used baby English cucumbers from Costco
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella packed in water, cubed
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives sliced
FOR THE HONEY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE:
- 3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Fill a medium pot halfway with water and heat to boiling. Add salt and then stir in the farro. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the farro until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain the farro and let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, place the kale leaves on a cutting board and massage them firmly with your hands, kneading the leaves until they smell fresh and grassy. Ball the kale into a tight ball and thinly slice the kale with a sharp knife. Transfer kale to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella, kalamata olives and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the dijon mustard, minced garlic, honey, balsamic, olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk to emulsify.
- Add the cooled farro and the dressing to the salad and toss to combine completely. If you're serving the chicken sliced -- fan it out over the top of the salad and serve. If you've diced the chicken add it to the salad and toss to coat with dressing.
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