Another kale salad? Yep. I can’t stop eating this one. It’s full of tender massaged kale, chewy cooked whole grains, tangy crumbled goat cheese, toasted almonds and dried cherries. The vinaigrette is intentionally zippy, and it brings it all together.
This salad is a dead ringer for one of my favorite Kansas City salads, the winter farro salad at French Market. It’s a cozy place with grab-and-go salads, amazing pastries and crêpes. The woman behind the counter typically has a lovely French accent. We often stop there on our way out of town for healthy road snacks.
I’ve become quite enamored with their farro salad. Since it’s labeled “winter,” I thought I’d better come up with a homemade version before it’s too late. Here it is!
This salad would be a wonderful hearty vegetarian option on your Easter table. It also packs great for work lunches and spring picnics. Beware, it’s hard to stop eating it once you start.
Watch How to Make Farro & Kale Salad with Goat Cheese
Salad Notes & Tips
- Farro cook times can vary, depending on whether you buy pearled, semi-pearled or whole farro. Sometimes it’s hard to know which one you have, so check the cook time on the label or just test the farro frequently for doneness after about 15 minutes has passed.
- While the farro cooks, you can work on the remaining components (whisk together the dressing, toast the almonds, chop the dried cherries, and massage the kale).
- Yes, I just said “massage the kale.” Sprinkling the chopped kale with a few dashes of salt and repeatedly scrunching it in your hands until darker greens helps do two things. One, it makes the kale taste less bitter and “raw.” Two, it makes the kale more soft and easier to eat, which makes a big difference!
- Keep a watchful eye on the almonds as they toast in the skillet, and stir often. They can go from golden brown to burnt quickly. Freshly toasted nuts add tons of savory flavor and extra-crisp texture—don’t skip this step!
- Once you’ve drained the cooked farro, stir the vinaigrette and dried cherries into the warm farro. The farro will absorb some of that delicious vinaigrette flavor, and the warmth will temper the garlic. The moisture and warmth will also help plump up the cherries a bit.
- Lastly, wait until the farro is almost completely cool to stir it into the kale and add goat cheese. Otherwise, the goat cheese will melt, and your salad won’t be quite as pretty. You can serve the salad immediately, or let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
Please let me know how this salad turns out for you in the comments! I really love hearing from you.
Looking for more kale salads? You’ll find more kale salad recipes here.
Farro and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 large salads 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
You’re going to love this delicious and nutritious kale and farro salad recipe! It’s full of hearty greens and chewy whole grains, plus flavorful toasted almonds, crumbled goat cheese, dried cherries and tangy vinaigrette. Recipe yields 4 large salads or up to 8 side salads.
- 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 big bunch curly green kale, ribs removed and chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup raw sliced almonds
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped dried cherries or cranberries
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- To cook the farro, in a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed farro with at least three cups water (enough water to cover the farro by a couple of inches). Add the salt, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy. (Pearled farro will take around 15 minutes; unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes.) Drain off the excess water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle it with a few dashes of salt and massage it with your hands by scrunching up large handfuls at a time until it’s darker and more fragrant (this makes the kale taste less bitter and makes it easier to eat). Set aside.
- To toast the almonds, pour them into a small skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently (careful, they can burn), until the almonds are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the almonds into the bowl of massaged kale.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, simply whisk the ingredients together in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
- Once the farro has been cooked and drained, stir in the chopped dried cherries (so they have a chance to plump up a bit) and vinaigrette (the heat will temper the garlic a bit).
- Once the farro has cooled down to room temperature or close to it, stir it into the kale mixture. Gently crumble most of the goat cheese into the salad and lightly stir. Taste, and if the salad doesn’t taste amazing yet, stir in more vinegar by the teaspoon until it does.
- Crumble the remaining goat cheese on top of the salad. Serve promptly, or refrigerate for later. This salad keeps well for four to five days in the refrigerator, covered.
Recipe inspired by the winter farro salad at French Market in Prairie Village, Kansas.
Make it gluten free: Substitute wild rice (cooked according to package directions) for the farro. Long-grain brown rice would be ok, too.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Omit the goat cheese. If you really want a creamy element, you could drizzle a little bit of my vegan sour cream over individual servings.
Make it nut free: Replace the almonds with pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds.
This salad is everything! I’ve made it twice this week! Thank you Kate; I love your recipes.
Thank you, Larissa!
This is so delicious & honestly I was tempted to eat another large serving – but resisted so I can have it again tomorrow. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!
So darn good! I slightly modified and used dried cranberries instead of cherries just because it was in the pantry and reduced garlic to 1 clove.
Thank you for sharing, Ellen! I appreciate your review.
This recipe is AMAZING. All the flavors meld together so well- my new favorite!! I also added gardein “chicken” strips in too, which got great color on the stovetop and sprinkled lots of pepper on them. This will be in my rotation for good!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Kerrie! Thank you for your review.
Soooo yummy! I agree with all the other 5-star comments – this is a great recipe that I’ll use again and again!
I made my own vinegarette earlier in the day so just used that, and toasted some pecans and it’s still an amazing salad! Perfect for late summer/fall weather.
I’m glad you will use this recipe again! I appreciate your review.
We love this! We use chickpea rotini and feta instead of farro and goat.
Question about dressing:
How long can I store it in the refrigerator in a jar?
Hi Mo, it should last roughly the same time as the salad roughly 4-5 days. But use your best judgement.
another incredible recipe! so simple, but so delicious! i used sweetened cranberries and some pepper infused olive oil since that’s all I had on hand – the results were fantastic!!!
Thank you, Jen!
This was delicious! I didn’t have Craisins or dried cherries so I used raisins. It was great!
I always enjoy trying our your recipes for a vegetarian lunch, without concern for my family’s tastes. When I made a batch of this one weekend, my 15 year old daughter and husband both took bites, asked for a full portion, and have been hooked ever since. They make a large batch of the farro each week to take into school/work for lunch. I think my daughter has introduced a few friends to kale as a result :) Your recipes have been a great gateway to helping us all eat less meat for the health of our bodies and the planet. Thank you!
I love that! Thank you for sharing, Erica.
Based on my pantry stock, I substituted black rice and chopped walnuts. It was delicious that way, too! This was for a Thanksgiving potluck, so I used chopped cranberries to complement the other dishes. The salad got lots of compliments, on taste and healthy goodness.
Can I use tuscan or dinosaur kale instead of curly kale?
Hi, you can if you like. I hope you enjoy this salad, Hollie!
Made this last night for our Christmas dinner. So delicious! Thank you for another great recipe :)
I’m glad you love it, Danyelle!
Another hit, Kate! I made this for dinner tonight, with quinoa turkey meatballs (which are yummy!) this salad accompanied them fantastically. A delicious, healthy meal.
I love this salad! I did not have farro so I substituted couscous and it was delicious. Will definitely make it again and again. Even better on day two. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing, Sarah! I appreciate your review.
Do you recommend dressing the salad and then keeping it in the refrigerator for a 3-4 days, or should the dressing be stored separately and only added right before serving? Thank you!
Hi! It is preference, but kale tends to hold up with salad dressing. Let me know what you think!
this is the most amazing salad ever!!!!!! made it for thanksgiving and I have made it several times after. My dad (who never eats kale) loves it and requests it. I have used feta cheese instead of goat and walnuts instead of almonds (did not have) and its been delish. also fresh pomegranates are very good. I have also added honey to the dressing and its a nice addition!
Whenever I’m in need of a new lovely salad, I know where to look: Your site.
I used fresh grapes cut in half b/c my partner won’t eat dried fruit. And I used half the cheese b/c I’m me! He thinks I’m a tad lactose intolerant, but he thinks lots of things. THANK YOU for this lovely salad!!!
I’m glad you know where to get delicious salad recipes! I appreciate your review, Curt.
I made this today. Yum! I added chicken and some more dressing to moisten it and it turned into an entree salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
I served this alongside a beautiful beef tenderloin, and it was the salad I got the most compliments on! I substituted dried chopped apricots for the cranberries/cherries.
Here’s the kicker – I forgot the add the cheese! I love goat cheese and picked some up, and didn’t put it in. Everyone loved it just the way it was!
This salad is amazing! I made it for my friend, a kale lover, and it was a big hit. She took some home and her kids loved it too. Thanks!
LOVE this kale salad!!!
Accidentally forgot the cheese, but perfectly delicious without it!
Added a little honey to the dressing and used equal amounts of red wine vinegar and oil as trying to reduce my oil consumption…
Keeps beautifully!!! Thanks for a lovely recipe!
You’re welcome, Jackie! I appreciate your review.
Huge hit with the family. Farro in the instant pot while I made the dressing, toasted almonds. So easy, so very good! (9 minutes HP/NPR)
Mine came out much heavier on the farro side. Do different types of farro cook up “bigger”? Mine looks more like farro with some kale in it.
Hi, It could have been the measurements. I hope you were still able to enjoy it!
Anita Vancouver BC
For the most part, I have Avoided kale, obviously it was done wrong when I tasted it before….and Kate has done it right! I shared it with my coworker today (who regularly eats kale salads) and he said this is restaurant quality! I used sherry vinegar and garlic infused oil (both bought from my local Olive Oil and Vinegar store) and skipped the fresh garlic. I did (accidentally) pour the dressing onto the kale, rather than the farro the night before. Did not matter, kale is hardy!
I’m glad you finally tried it! I appreciate your review.
Love this salad! Perfect for dinner + next day lunch!
I agree! This salad is great to have on hand. Thank you for your review, Amanda.
Really liked this recipe! A combination of things that I don’t really eat regularly, but I thought flavors paired well and would make it again.
To reduce the amount of oil, I followed a previous comment/recommendation of subbing 1/2 the oil for more red wine vinegar. The dressing ended up being very tart but I thought it worked well with the salad.
That’s great to hear, JL! Thank you for taking the time to review.
This is delicious. I am eating a lot of kale and always looking for new ways to dress it up so I don’t get sick of it. I couldn’t get goat cheese but substituted Gran Moravia Parmesan and it was great.
I just love finding kale salads that both my husband and I like. This one was excellent. I did cut back on the goat cheese a little because I find it overpowering, and I added some sliced scallions. I also love that I can pack this for lunch the next couple days as it holds up for a while. Thank you Kate!
Thank you for sharing how you made this fit your needs, Ashley! I appreciate your review.
This is our favorite salad-to-take-to-a-party, since it can be assembled ahead of time and we just throw in the almonds right before serving. We took it to Thanksgiving dinner last night and it was a big hit, again!
I love to hear that, Allison! Thank you for your review.
WOW! This farro, kale and goat cheese salad is SO GOOD! My wife and I had to put it away to keep from eating the whole thing for dinner. It was just as good the next day too. Definitely a keeper!
This has become a go to salad for us, especially when we need to bring a dish somewhere. I have shared this recipe countless times.
I love to hear that, Miriam! Thank you for sharing.
We made this but substituted the faro for barley – delicious
Okay, I say this about every Kate salad but I really mean it this time- THIS IS MY FAVORITE ONE YET!!!!
I had to use feta instead of goat cheese but otherwise made it the same. It’s so good- truly, much better than the sum if it’s parts. Thank you Kate!!!!
Hooray! I’m excited you love this salad, Heathet.