I’ve been traveling for the past 4 weeks so it’s hard for me to believe that it’s going to be Christmas in 15 days. I 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 work on the Christmas menu. A 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 or as a healthy lunch!
**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. The roasted cauliflower, pickled red onion, and farro are good already, but toss everything with this walnut vinaigrette and it’s a life-changer.
Start by pickling the red onion. This is a quick pickling method so it only takes thirty minutes but you can also pickle the onions days before. While the red onion is sitting in the vinegar mixture, cook the farro. This is a simple farro pilaf recipe, cooking the grains in white wine and broth. You can omit the white wine and add more broth if you’re not a fan of wine. You can also substitute the farro for barley, quinoa, or even wild rice and the dish would still be tasty.
While the farro is cooking, make the walnut dressing. This dressing is the key to making this salad extra delicious. Saute chopped shallots and mix it with chopped toasted walnuts, honey, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. Make sure the nuts are toasted to maximize their flavor. If you like, use walnut oil with the walnuts for extra walnut-y flavor!
Massage the kale with a touch of lemon and the salad dressing to soften the leaves. If you skip this step, the kale will be tough – talk about a jaw workout! Top it with the roasted cauliflower, pickled onions, farro, and extra dressing.
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. I absolutely loved this cauliflower, kale, and farro salad with the nutty tangy walnut dressing. 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.