Since posting the salad that started it all (I’m looking at you) I’ve been getting lots of requests for another kale salad. I adore kale salads, so this is not a hard ask from me. I wasn’t sure how much all of you would jump on board with them, so now that I know you’re game I’m all in.
Here is a totally different take on a chopped kale salad, but also similar in many ways. The combination of chewy farro, tender kale, bright tomatoes, toasty almonds and a savory, umami packed lemon dressing is really incredible.
If you haven’t used nutritional yeast before, this is a reason to start. I get mine from amazon, or Whole Foods usually. Trader Joe’s also carries it. It’s deactivated baker’s or brewer’s yeast and is very popular in vegan recipes because of its “cheesy” flavor. You’ll taste the dressing and see just what I mean. It’s also excellent on popcorn and even on roasted vegetables. I love keeping it in the pantry.
How To Make “Cheesy” Vegan Kale Salad
Step 1. Cook farro in a small saucepan until tender. Depending on the kind you use, it can take anywhere from 10-40 minutes. Pearled farro cooks quite quickly, while whole farro takes up to 40-45 minutes. Adjust according to what you have.
Step 2. Make the dressing (usually the best part, right?). Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. It’ll be a beautiful golden color and should taste quite strong, but not bitter. If it is bitter to you, you can add a teaspoon of honey. It all depends on the nutritional yeast you’re using I find.
Step 3. By now you know how I feel about massaging kale… add the dressing and farro and do it! It transforms the leaves into something soft and lovely rather than the stiff, fibrous bites of plant that we often see memes about : )
Step 4. Top with the rest of the ingredients, toss and enjoy!
What Else Can I Use?
- I call for Tuscan kale (also known as Lacinato or Dinosaur kale) but you can use regular green curly kale if that’s what you can find. Just be sure to massage the dressing in well 30 minutes before serving to tenderize the leaves.
- If you don’t have farro, quinoa and brown rice are welcome substitutions.
- Are you grain-free? Add some chickpeas to this salad instead of the farro.
- The one ingredient there really is no replacement for is the nutritional yeast in the dressing. If you don’t want to pick some up at the market (you can also order on amazon) make my Lemon Tahini Dressing instead.
- Another option is to leave out the nutritional yeast and use parmesan cheese instead. It won’t be vegan, and has a more classic cheesy flavor… it’ll still be delicious.
This Salad is Special Because:
It takes under 30 minutes to make, and as little as 20 if you’re using a small pearled farro.
The savory flavor from the nutritional yeast is unmatched. It is deeply satisfying on the palate, and packs a real umami punch.
This salad holds up very well in the fridge, thanks to the hearty kale and farro making it ideal for meal prep lunches.
Be Sure To Check Out These Other Plant Based Meal-Prep Salad Recipes:
If you make this “Cheesy” Vegan Kale Salad, and I hope you do, please leave me a comment here and rate the recipe. Your feedback means a lot to me! You can also post to Instagram and tag me so I can share your creations!
“Cheesy” Vegan Kale Salad with Farro (Vegan, Dairy-Free)
- small saucepan
- 6 cups Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add farro and cook for 10-20 minutes, until just tender. Drain and set aside.
- To make the dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender and blend for 10 seconds until very smooth. Reserve.
- Place chopped kale into a large serving bowl.
- Top with the cooked farro and dressing. Using your hands or a pair of tongs, toss it together to coat. I like to use my hands to massage the dressing into the kale well.
- Add cherry tomatoes, diced onion, sliced almonds, and fresh parsley and toss again to coat.
- Enjoy, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.