Farro & Radicchio Salad with Caramelized Leek Dressing
This Farro & Radicchio Salad with Caramelized Leek Dressing is a vibrant and hearty salad perfect for fall and winter when you are craving some veggies but want something substantial that will keep you full on chilly days.Jump to Recipe
Here we goooo – the first fall recipe of the year is finally here! I know some of you were ready as soon as the calendar entered September but it’s still muggy and hot here so I just couldn’t bring myself to give up the tomatoes and corn until this week. It’s very appropriate that I’m starting the season off with a hearty salad recipe because it’s still warm enough to crave a salad but this recipe also highlights some cooler weather ingredients. I also love using grains and heartier leafy greens (like radicchio) to create a sturdy salad that will hold up for a few days.
To streamline this recipe, I’d recommend starting with the dressing since the leeks take about 30 minutes (maybe a little more depending on how large you cut them) to caramelize. If short on time, you could also caramelize the leeks and cook the farro ahead of time which then makes assembling this salad a quick breeze when it’s time to eat.
I’ve had a few of you comment when I’ve posted recipes highlighting radicchio in the past that the radicchio is a little bitter for your tastebuds. Because of this, I decided to experiment by roasting half of the radicchio to mellow it out and kept the other half raw so there was still substantial crunch (you’ll notice in the photos that there are a few leaves that are dark and crispy which were roasted). Ultimately, I decided I love the texture of raw radicchio and the bitterness that counters the sweet figs so I’ve written the recipe that way BUT if you’d like to tone the bitterness down, all you have to do is brush the radicchio leaves with a little olive oil and roast in a 500 degree oven for 5 minutes or so (watch closely and remove once the leaves start to brown on the edges).
The last note I have for this recipe is that I used some beautiful fresh figs I found but I realize their season can be short and they are not always available at all stores. If you are having trouble finding them, feel free to substitute with 1/4 cup of either dried cranberries or yellow raisins – this will still bring a touch of sweetness to your salad that will counter the bitterness of the greens beautifully.
This Farro & Radicchio Salad with Caramelized Leek Dressing is a vibrant and hearty salad perfect for fall and winter when you are craving some veggies but want something substantial that will keep you full on chilly days.
- 1 leek
- 1 Tbsp olive oil + 1/4 cup, divided
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 cup farro, rinsed
- 1 head radicchio
- 3 cups baby kale or read leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces if needed
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 5 fresh figs, quartered
- salt and pepper
Trim the ends of the leek and then cut it down the center lengthwise. Rinse out any dirt that may be lingering instead it's layers and then, with the cut side facing down, thinly slice half moon strips.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add leek pieces along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the leek has softened and is starting to caramelize. This will take about 30 minutes and you may need to adjust the heat down during the second half of the cooking time if the leek pieces are starting to burn instead of caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside.
While your leeks are caramelizing, place the farro and 1 tsp of salt in a medium saucepan and add enough water so the farro is covered. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium-low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep it covered, until it's softened but still has a slight chewiness to it. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, honey, vinegar, mayonnaise, and a pinch of salt and pepper until emulsified. Add the caramelized leek pieces and whisk to combine.
Add the radicchio, baby kale or lettuce, fennel, and farro to the mixing bowl and toss to cost with dressing. Taste and season with more salt or pepper, if needed.
Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the fresh fig pieces. Serve right away.
Make sure to tag Vegetarian ‘Ventures on Instagram and use #vegetarianventures when trying this dish out!