I’ve been traveling for the past almost 4 weeks so it’s hard for me to believe that it’s actually Christmas in 15 days. I love, love, love the holidays and I usually start feeling the holiday spirit come Thanksgiving, but this year I’m falling behind! No gifts have been bought, no tree has been decorated and no menus have been planned…the chaos! Today, I finally decided to get my act together and started to brainstorm on what to prepare on Christmas. Rib roast is the traditional main dish in our household, but the side dishes are all open to the chef aka me. After figuring out that I wanted a cauliflower, rice, and salad dish in the mix, I decided to combine all of those ingredients into one. Here is my cauliflower, kale and farro salad with a walnut vinaigrette, perfect as a side for your holiday menu or as a healthy lunch to start the new year!
- Serves 6 as side dish,4 as main
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/2 cup farro
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups cauliflower
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 bunch kale
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine vinegar, sugar and salt for the pickled red onions in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar and salt dissolved. Add red onions and stir. Refrigerate until needed.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in medium pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add farro, stir and toast for 30 seconds. Add wine and cook until almost all evaporated. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Roast the cauliflower. Cut into florets. Toss with garlic, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Prepare walnut vinaigrette. Heat 1 tsp oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. Add walnuts and shallots and saute until shallots have softened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add mustard, vinegar, and honey. Drizzle olive oil into mixture, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove stems from kale and tear big leaves into smaller pieces. Squeeze lemon juice and pour vinaigrette onto kale. Massage leaves until softened, making sure every kale has vinaigrette. Toss together with pickled red onions (onions only, no pickling liquid), farro, and roasted cauliflower, adding more vinaigrette. Finish with shaved parmesan and serve. Can be served hot or cold.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Many, many years ago I made a green bean dish with a hazelnut dressing for an event. For some reason, I forgot about that dish until now, and used that dressing as inspiration for this walnut vinaigrette. Sure the roasted cauliflower, pickled red onion and farro are good already, but toss everything with this walnut vinaigrette and trust me, it’s a life-changer.
If you like, use walnut oil with the walnuts for extra walnut-y flavor! You can also substitute the farro for barley, quinoa, or even wild rice and the dish would still be tasty. I had originally planned on adding shaved parmesan but completely forgot until after I ate it. It’s not completely essential to the salad but add some shavings for that extra nutty, sharp taste. For my test run, I enjoyed this cauliflower, kale and farro salad with roasted spiced chicken and roasted potatoes (cooked in the chicken juices, of course.) Definitely adding this dish to the holiday menu!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.