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Welcome Fall with a Healthy Harvest Farro Salad

image source: elizabeth stark
image source: elizabeth stark

When my family moved from Brooklyn to the mountains of Virginia a few years back, I was surprised to learn that leafy greens disappeared at the height of summer. Now that we’re easing into fall — and cooler weather – leafy greens are making a welcome return to the dinner table.

Along with the kale, another seasonal favorite has come in – apples. Many of the apples available in stores year-round are storage apples, bred to travel distances and store well. But right now, at farmers markets and orchards everywhere, a different kind of apple is available. Fresh, flavorful, and sweet fall apples. Their heartier cousins may see us all through the cold months, but for now, I’m happily reveling in the fleeting freshness of the fall apple bounty.

I love autumn, and wanted to capture some of these flavors of the season in an easy, kid-friendly dish. I started with farro – a whole grain that cooks up beautifully, especially with a hint of apple cider vinegar – and tossed in some hearty additions like kale and crisp bacon, plus several handfuls of apple slices. Because the farro and bacon add so much flavor, I dressed the salad very simply with just a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon.

And guess what? My daughters, ages 4 and 8, devoured it! The apples and bacon piqued their interest, and they both ended up having seconds.

Harvest Farro Salad with Bacon, Apples, and Kale
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark

Harvest Farro Salad with Bacon, Apples, and Kale

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. To make the farro, combine farro, apple cider vinegar, and water in a medium-sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir in sea salt, bay leaves, and shallot, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until farro is cooked to al dente and all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and dry the kale. Cut off bottom stems and discard. Chop kale leaves into thin ribbons. Set kale in a large salad bowl, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and sprinkle with a generous pinch sea salt. Massage leaves with fingertips and set aside.
  3. When ready to serve, add spoonfuls of farro to the kale and gently toss. Tuck apple slices throughout. Finish with crumbled bacon, and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
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