Do you ever watch the show Top Chef? If you do, the name Richard Blais might sound familiar to you. He came in second place on his season (still bitter about that) and came back to compete again on Top Chef All Stars, which he won. Anyway, he is my favorite person that has ever been on that show – I love him. Well I found out that he has a restaurant in Atlanta, which is only an hour and a half from our apartment in Columbus! So for my birthday this year, Seth and I drove to Atlanta and went to his restaurant, The Spence.
It was hands down the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life. We went in, sat down, asked our waiter what the best things on the menu were, and ended up ordering all of them – it ended up being about 5 appetizers and one entree to share. It was AWESOME.
Aaanyway, one of the appetizers we ordered was a baby kale Caesar salad. It sounds super simple but ended up being one of our favorite things we ate that night. Baby kale has such great flavor! It’s a little more robust than a mild green like spinach, but way less bold than something like arugula. It’s a way to eat raw kale and get its health benefits without having such a tough green in your salad.
I’ve been wanting to create a salad with baby kale ever since we went to The Spence in October, but I never saw it in our grocery stores. I found it the other day at the Fresh Market, which is kind of a fancy-ish health food store, and decided to create a recipe using it! What better time than Easter?? Everyone will love this salad if you include it in your Easter spread.
It has a very bold and unique blend of flavors. The farro makes this salad so hearty and gives it great substance. It has such a cool and different texture than other grains – almost chewy. I love it.
Throw that in there along with some bacon (always the best part), orange, goat cheese, and walnuts and you have a delicious and hearty salad that will be perfect for your Easter table!
And the dressing. Oh, the dressing. Did you know that if you blend just a tiny bit of mayo into dressing it becomes this thick, creamy, delicious creation?? All I added was one teaspoon and, as you can see from the first picture, it turned the simple balsamic vinaigrette into so much more.
This is seriously one of the most satisfying, flavorful salads I have ever had. For you salad haters out there who think they are boring and zero percent filling (I used to be one of them), give this baby a spin.
Alright, for Easter memory #2:
Remember yesterday how I was talking about the Easter bunny writing me and my brothers letters giving us instructions for our Egg Hunt? Mainly his instructions were for what color eggs to search for. My brothers are both several years older than me, but they are only one year apart from each other. So they were obviously on a higher Egg Hunt ability level than me, who could basically find the eggs if they were placed in my hand. So they would usually have bold colored eggs, and I would have pastel colors. It is so funny watching home videos of our Easter Egg Hunts because Lyndon and Lawson could barely stand to pass by my eggs when they could so obviously see them. It was killing them that I was drooling in the corner playing with a blade of grass instead of finding the painfully obvious eggs strewn all across the yard. By the end of the egg hunt, they couldn’t stand it anymore and just sprinted around the yard grabbing all of my eggs and bringing them to my basket to put them in for me. It was a pretty hilarious home video!
Here is the recipe for this perfect Easter salad!Print
Baby Kale, Farro Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 8 side portions, 4 meal portions 1x
- 1/2 cup uncooked farro
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 5oz box baby kale
- 3 blood oranges (or regular oranges if you can’t find blood oranges)
- 1 5 oz package goat cheese
- 10 strips bacon
- For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Rinse your farro and place it in a small pot along with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
- Simmer the farro for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
- While you are simmering your farro, cook your bacon, crumble, and set aside
- Peel and segment the blood oranges, crumble the goat cheese, and toast your walnuts
- Let your farro cool in the fridge or freezer until it is room temperature so it won’t wilt your kale
- For the dressing:
- In a blender, add the vinegar, oil, minced garlic, mayo, and a little salt and pepper
- Blend for several seconds until everything is smooth
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- To assemble the salad, add your kale to a large salad bowl and top with the farro, walnuts, bacon, oranges, and goat cheese
- Dress the salad, toss to combine, and serve!
If you make this or any of my other recipes, make sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
This salad looks delicious! I’d like to serve it as the only side with some chicken. But have a question. What other cheese could I substitute for the goat cheese? While I love it, my hubby is allergic to it. I know goat cheese has a tang to it, so I’m wondering if feta would be too salty, or maybe using a soft blue cheese like Gorgonzola. What do you think? Any suggestions? Thanks!
Annie Chesson says
Good question! My husband doesn’t do goat cheese either – he’s not allergic, but he HATES it. I almost always sub feta cheese for his stuff, and I think that would work best here! Blue cheese or Gorgonzola might work too – I actually super strongly dislike blue cheese, so I can’t attest for how well it would work in this, but I wouldn’t be afraid to try it if I were you!
Maya @ Treats and Eats says
Ooh, this looks great! I’ve definitely never thought of adding mayo to a vinaigrette to make it creamy but what an inspired idea- love it!
Maya @ Treats and Eats recently posted…Blueberry Margarita
Annie Chesson says
Thanks, Maya! You should definitely try it with Balsamic Vinaigrette. It will change your salad world :).
Keri @ Fashionable Foods says
Annie, this salad looks wonderful! I love baby kale and everything else in this salad, so I need to try it asap. I love that adding a teaspoon of mayo makes the dressing nice a creamy – great idea! Your Easter egg hunts sound hysterical! Ours always ended up being inside because it was too darn cold out to have them out in the yard, but we still had fun!
Keri @ Fashionable Foods recently posted…Apricot and Riesling Glazed Ham
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says
This salad looks so good! Love the flavours and that creamy balsamic vinaigrette sounds so heavenly! :D
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext recently posted…Easter OREO White Chocolate Bark
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy says
I am loving kale and balsamic in salads at the moment. It’s such a perfect combo.
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on 10 Minute Chickpea and Spinach Curry by Ciara (My Fussy Eater)
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
This salad looks delicious, Annie! I love all of the flavors in here. I never think to use farro, so this sounds like the perfect combination!
Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…20+ Slow Cooker Recipes
Annie Chesson says
Thanks, Gayle! This is the first time I’ve ever used farro, and I really liked it!