Grain bowl, meet kale salad. This fall-tastic mashup brings together bright peak-season produce, delightfully chewy farro, and a tangy Dijon-cider vinaigrette that you’ll probably want to drink straight from the bowl (no judgment). Plus, the longer the dressing marinates, the more tender and toothsome the kale becomes—but resisting this glorious dish for too long might be a challenge.
8 ounces butternut squash
8 ounces red beets
8 ounces dinosaur kale
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ ounce thyme
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 packet Dijon mustard
1¼ ounces maple syrup, divided
½ cup farro
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 ounces blue cheese
8″ medium pot
Getting a head start? Dress the kale (remember: The longer it can marinate, the more flavorful and tender it gets). Let farro and roasted vegetables cool completely, then refrigerate everything in separate airtight containers. Sprinkle over blue cheese just before serving, cold or at room temperature.
Perfectly cooked farro is tender, but still with some chew to it. Taste your farro before you drain it; if you prefer a more tender consistency, keep cooking a few minutes more.
Preheat oven to 425°F (see Recipe Tip). Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Cut squash to ½-inch pieces, if needed. Peel beets and cut into ½-inch dice. Stack kale leaves, trim and discard stems, and thinly slice crosswise. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt over kale and, using your hands, massage until beginning to soften and darken, 1-2 minutes. Peel shallot and mince enough to yield 2 tablespoons.
On a baking sheet, toss squash with cayenne pepper (it’s a little spicy—feel free to use less), 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired, then arrange in a single layer on 1 half of sheet. On other half, toss beets with whole thyme sprigs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired, and arrange in a single layer. Roast until tender, 22-25 minutes. Set aside.
While vegetables roast, in a large bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced shallot (raw shallot has a strong flavor, so only use as much as desired), 1 teaspoon maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Whisking continuously, slowly add 3 tablespoons olive oil until fully combined. Add kale to bowl, toss to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature until ready to serve.
Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in farro and cook until tender but still chewy, 12-14 minutes (see Recipe Tip). Use this downtime to get a head start on dishes. Then, drain farro and return to pot, off heat. Set aside to release steam and cool, at least 5 minutes—you want it to be cool enough that it won’t wilt the kale in the next step.
Add pecans and cooled farro to bowl with kale and toss to coat. Remove and discard thyme from baking sheet with vegetables, then drizzle remaining maple syrup over beets and toss to coat.
Divide kale and farro salad between serving plates. Top with roasted beets and butternut squash, scatter over blue cheese, and dig in!