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Dinner Tonight: Farro with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale, and Pomegranate Seeds

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The days are getting shorter and cooler, and we're perfectly happy breaking out our richest and butteriest comfort foods to fight the slump. With the holidays just around the corner, after all, we have to practice our pies, stuffings, cookies, and roasts, so come Thanksgiving, they all go off without a hitch. While our love of all things full of cream and drizzled (okay, drenched) in gravy is well known, sometimes we wake up craving a big salad. 

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Enter this farro, sweet potato, kale, and pomegranate dish. This salad uses some of our favorite fall vegetables, with the added sweetness of pomogranate seeds and plenty of lemon and olive oil for brightness and body. The best part? While the recipe calls for farro, you can sub in grains like quinoa or brown rice, in case you don't feel like running to the store to pick some up. Not only is it not boring, it's also the perfect make-ahead NSDL (that's Not Sad Desk Lunch) for the rest of your busy week.

Farro with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale, and Pomegranate

Grocery List (organized by area of the market)

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1 cup semi-pearled or regular farro
1/3 cup shelled raw walnuts
1 large sweet potato
3 cups packed kale
Fresh Meyer lemon juice (a regular lemon will work okay, too)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

We're assuming you already have 1 medium onion, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, a clove (or two) of garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper, but if you don't, add those to your list, too.

With about 45 minutes to dinner, preheat your oven to 400° F. In a pot, bring the farro and 4 cups water to a boil and cook the grains while you prep the onion and sweet potato and toss with olive oil and the spices. Because the onions will cook faster than the sweet potato, either cook on two baking sheets, or, if you don't feel like doing lots of dishes, put the potato in about 10 minutes before the onion. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes total, giving the vegetables an occasional stir. Find space in the oven for the walnuts in the oven and roast 5 minutes. You'll have to trust your instincts (and your nose) because the nuts will be fragrant when roasted, but you don't want to burn them. 

Drain the farro and put it in a big salad bowl to cool. Keeping an eye on your roasting vegetables, toss a minced clove or two of garlic into a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add the kale and sauté lightly until it's wilted; then add the cooked kale to the bowl of farro, and then pull your vegetables out of the oven and add those too. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and gently stir in the pomegranate seeds and roasted walnuts at the end. Serve it up in a big bowl, and be prepared for delicious leftovers!

Photo by James Ransom

Tags: Not Sad Desk Lunch, Dinner Tonight, Easy Meals, Salads, Make Ahead