Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Fennel and Harissa

Enjoy this warm farro salad with kale, caramelized onions, grilled fennel and harissa topped with crumbled goat cheese or a fried egg for a hearty vegetarian lunch!

Warm Farro Salad with Caramelized Onions, Kale, Grilled Fennel and Harissa

Happy Monday! Gah, I'm really wishing it was another Sunday - I could use a lazy day! This past weekend my parents came in town from Virginia. Turns out its tough keeping up with 50 and 60-year olds. Friday night we went to Craft and Draft for local beers, then out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Baan Sawan. Seriously, I would go out on a limb and say it's the best Thai food outside of Thailand and I feel 110% confident putting that statement out on the internet.

On Saturday, we went shopping on Devine St for their semi-annual sidewalk sale. I snagged a really cute winter skirt and a plaid poncho which I think will replace my beige knit sweater in it's weekly rotation. Then we went out to City Roots, our local organic farm, for a pig and oyster roast. We enjoyed incredible barbecue, awesome sides (holy blue cheese coleslaw and pimento mac and cheese!) and hot roasted SC oysters. Oh, and a few too many Westbrook IPAs, hence the need for a second Sunday.

Warm Farro Salad with sauteed Kale, Grilled Fennel, Harissa and Caramelized ONions

If I could drag myself off the couch to do a little meal prep for the week, I'd probably whip up a batch of this farro salad. It's kind of a mishmash between a old favorite recipe from orangette and a heirloom brown rice bowl with harissa I had while we were in Arizona last month. Then I threw in some grilled fennel I had leftover and it was a smart choice.

Chewy farro is possibly my favorite choice for grain bowls. It reminds me a bit of barley, but better. Farro is a type of ancient wheat, thought to be the oldest cultivated grain. Look for it in the bulk aisle of your local health food store, or if you can't find it, swap barley or even brown rice.

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Although it takes a bit to put together the different components of this dish, it's absolutely worth it. While I served this with harissa, you could also drizzle it with sriracha. If you're feeling extra hungry, top with a fried egg.


Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Fennel and Harissa
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Serves 4-5
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 head kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • Lemon, in wedges
  • Harissa, for serving
  1. Place farro in a medium pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place lentils in a small pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Head 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sided pot on medium high heat. Add onions, stir to coat with oil, and cook 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until deeply caramelized. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Slice fennel into thick slices. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set an indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill) on medium-high heat. Place fennel on the grill and cook 5 minutes per side until charred and tender. Set aside and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop the fennel.
  5. In a medium skillet (you can use the same one you caramelized the onions in if it's free), heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Add kale, stir to combine and coat with oil. Add 1/2 cup water, mince garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes, adding more water if needed, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together farro, lentils, fennel, kale, caramelized onions. Divide between four bowls. Top with pistachios, goat cheese and serve with lemon wedge and harissa.

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