“Cheesy” Vegan Kale Salad with Farro (Vegan)

5 from 8 votes
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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

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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!

vegan kale salad

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.

vegan kale salad
kale salad

Be Sure To Check Out These Other Plant Based Meal-Prep Salad Recipes:

Erwhon’s Famous Kale Salad

Shaved Spring Salad with Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette

Soba Noodle Salad with Spicy Almond Dressing

Kale Chopped Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

kale salad

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!

kale salad
5 from 8 votes

“Cheesy” Vegan Kale Salad with Farro (Vegan, Dairy-Free)

This vegan and gluten free kale salad is creamy, chewy, and packed with savory, complex flavor.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • small saucepan

Ingredients 

  • 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

Dressing:

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 421mg | Potassium: 580mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2896IU | Vitamin C: 60mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 401
Keyword: kale, meal prep, salad, salad dressing, vegan
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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious and so easy to make! I have only just started to to include more vegan recipes and This one really does help when I’m missing cheese!

    1. Kate,
      I totally agree! It has that savory, cheesy flavor that adds so much to the salad.
      I’m so happy you love it.
      Kat

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this salad! I made it to meal prep my lunches for the week and it was just as good on Day 5 as it was on Day 1. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Jocelyne,
      The way it holds up is one of my favorite things about this salad.
      So happy you enjoyed it!
      Kat

  3. Is there a substitution you can recommend for the tomatoes? I’ve noticed a few of your recipes call for several cups of halved tomatoes but try as I might I can only force down 1-2 cherry tomatoes and seems silly to add them only to eat around them. Any suggestions for a sub for the tomatoes? Thanks!

    1. I find that red pepper is a nice substitution for tomatoes, Dana. It also helps the salad hold up over time.
      Enjoy! Kat

  4. 5 stars
    so I feel compelled to review this recipe as I have made it maybe 3 or 4 times in the last two weeks? I made it the first time expecting to eat it for the rest of the week and, between me and my husband, we polished it off in one day. I made it for my sister (who “isn’t a kale eater”) and she ate a whole bowl. My vegetable adverse 3 year old will willingly take multiple bites and asks for more. it is just that delicious. We are doing whole30 right now, and I just subbed cauliflower rice for the farro (it has held up well in the fridge), and popped a hard boiled egg on top and it has become a meal on repeat over the past couple weeks. Thank you so much for such a great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    BOOM. This salad is everything I want in a salad. It is so delicious and gets better every day. Thank you!!!!

    1. Stephanie, the fact that it gets better and better is one of my favorite things about it too.
      Thanks for taking the time to review!
      Kat

  6. 5 stars
    I am a very tough critic when it comes to salad. My friends actually call me the salad lady—and we eat main course salads for dinner 75% of the time. I usually use recipes for inspiration but often feel the need to tweak/alter dressing or some other component. I love this salad. The farro makes it feel hearty and filling, but the rest of the ingredients are light so it doesn’t feel heavy. It’s an easy one to adapt using whatever you have in the fridge, too. My husband loved it. I did use Meyer lemon for sweetness. Thank you for your delicious salad recipes—please keep them coming!

  7. I started following you on Instagram and you are motivating me! I think I’ve made almost all your salads so far! They are ALL delicious. I meal prep and have them for lunches at work. Keep on creating these fabulous and flavorful recipes.

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve made a few of your salads from your hungry lady salad playlist on Tiktok; specifically the Chopped Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing, the Revolutionary Broccoli, the Air fried Artichoke Salad, and the Kale Chopped Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressings – all delicious, but this is my favorite. It brings me joy. It honestly tastes like what I think sunshine would taste like. I used a really large lemon for the dressing, so my dressing was more on the lemoney side – so I’ll likely be mindful of that NEXT time I make this. But soo good Kathleen. And REALLY easy! Waiting for the ebook on all things salad………………

    1. It does taste like sunshine, you are so right Amanda.
      Thank you for taking the time to leave me this note!
      Kat