Sometimes, I like to imagine that I live a more glamorous food blogger existence. One in which lunch is more than a hodgepodge of cookbook leftovers, and I make myself proper dinners every night. This all takes place in my lovely, subway-tiled, self-cleaning kitchen (a girl can dream!).
My reality is far different. I’ve been intensely focused on photographing the breakfast chapter for my cookbook, so I have been living in yoga pants and surviving on scones lately. My dining table has moved to the middle of my living room, and a tripod now stands where my coffee table usually goes. Everything is a mess.
With impeccable timing, Blue Apron offered to send me three meal’s worth of ingredients (two portions each), complete with simple instructions on how to make them. They basically fed me a proper lunch for the first time in a week. It was amazing. I could have cried.
When life gets super busy, it’s so easy for healthy meals to fall by the wayside. Good dinners are more than just fuel—they’re a time to rest, recharge and connect with friends and family. They’re important, and they don’t make themselves.
Blue Apron makes dinners easier by shipping perfectly portioned, sustainably produced ingredients with simple, chef-created menus. I almost felt a little guilty accepting outside help, and I was worried about creating more waste with extra packaging. I was relieved when I opened the box to see that they have totally minimized the packaging (no styrofoam!), and even offer recycling programs. I’m going to ship my box back to them (for free) via USPS—here’s more information about their recycling options.
During this hectic time, it was quite a relief to know that I had all the ingredients I needed waiting for me in the refrigerator. Blue Apron deliveries seem like a perfect solution for particularly busy weeks, or for date nights in, or for the first week at a new house. I can see myself gifting a shipment to new parents who love to cook, too.
So today, I’m sharing the delightful sweet potato and farro salad that Blue Apron shipped to me. It’s something that I would normally cook, but I wouldn’t have thought to add a Middle Eastern spin to it with mint, ricotta salata and sumac. Sumac is a reddish spice with a delicious, almost lemony, tart flavor.
You can peruse more of Blue Apron’s recipes over here, no membership or purchase required. If you want to try Blue Apron for yourself, they’re offering a special to Cookie and Kate readers—the first 50 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here.
- ¾ cup farro (the semi-pearled variety cooks faster)
- 1 pound sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 small), peeled and sliced into 1” cubes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 teaspoons ground sumac (optional but recommended)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as Lacinato kale), ribs removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar or honey or maple syrup
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled salata cheese or feta cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To cook the farro: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the farro, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy (pearled farro will take as little as 15 minutes; unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes). Drain off the excess water and return the farro to the pot. Set aside.
- To roast the sweet potatoes: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the cubed sweet potato on the pan and drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the sumac over the sweet potatoes, followed by salt and pepper, then toss until the sweet potatoes are thoroughly coated in oil and spices. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until they are caramelized on the edges and tender when pierced with a fork.
- To pickle the onion: In a small pan or medium pot, combine the onion, vinegar, sugar and ½ cup water. Cook over medium heat, occasionally swirling the pan, for 4 to 8 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the farro is done cooking, add the chopped kale to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, then stir to combine. Season with salt (I added ¼ teaspoon) and pepper, to taste.
- To assemble the salad: Drain the excess liquid from the pickled onions, then add the onions to the pot of farro and kale. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and squeeze an entire lemon’s worth of juice into the pot. Stir to combine and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide the salad into individual bowls and top each one with mint leaves, chopped hazelnuts and crumbled cheese.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Skip the cheese. Vegans, use either sugar or maple syrup for the pickled onions.
Make it gluten free: I think ¾ cup cooked wild rice or wild rice blend would be a great substitute for the farro.
Make it nut free: Substitute toasted pepitas for the hazelnuts.
This post was created in partnership with Blue Apron and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!