Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro, Pecorino, and Dates

published Jun 18, 2020
Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro, Pecorino, and Dates

A make-ahead friendly salad made with crunchy red cabbage, shredded kale, dates, farro, and Pecorino cheese.

Serves8 to 10

Prep20 minutes

Cook31 minutes to 38 minutes

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A platter of salad sits on a wood table.
Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

The easiest way to eat more salad? Make a big batch in advance. The problem? Soggy lettuce. In order to create the ultimate no-wilt salad — one that could be made on Sunday and stay crisp throughout the week — we knew we had to be smart about our choice of greens.

Delicate greens like bibb and spinach proved, unsurprisingly, to be a no-go. But hardier greens, specifically cabbage and kale, stayed fresh for multiple days. When cut into long, thin ribbons (aka chiffonade), they’re easy to eat and pair deliciously with a cheesy lemon dressing, chewy farro, and lots of tasty mix-ins. Here’s how to make the very best no-wilt salad salad that stays fresh for days.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Why This Is the Ultimate Make-Ahead Salad

1. It uses hardy mix-ins. This recipe adds chopped dates, toasted almonds, and cooked farro to the greens, which are all super hardy and can withstand being dressed days in advance. It steers clear of delicate ingredients like whole-leaf herbs, leafy greens, or fresh fruit, which have a tendency to get soggy.

2. The cheese is in the dressing. Cheese has a tendency to get mushy and fall apart when tossed into a salad, so here, we’ve blended it into the dressing. This gives the salad all the cheesy flavor, but none of the soggy texture.

3. It’s made with hearty greens. Cabbage and kale don’t wilt or get soggy, and they remain crisp for several days. We use a combination of the two in this recipe to get the perfect combination of color and crunch.

Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro, Pecorino, and Dates

A make-ahead friendly salad made with crunchy red cabbage, shredded kale, dates, farro, and Pecorino cheese.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 31 minutes to 38 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 cup

    farro

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2 cups

    whole almonds (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups

    pitted dates (about 12 ounces)

  • 1 bunch

    flat-leaf kale (about 7 ounces)

  • 1/2

    medium head red cabbage (about 8 ounces)

For the dressing: (yields about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 4

    medium lemons

  • 6 ounces

    Pecorino cheese, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the farro: Place 1 cup farro in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse under cold water, and set aside to drain. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in the farro and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Boil until the farro is tender but still slightly chewy, 10 to 15 minutes for pearled and 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled. Meanwhile, make the dressing and prepare the almonds and slaw.

  2. Make the dressing: Prep the following and add to a blender: Finely grated the zest of 4 medium lemons (about 4 tablespoons). Juice the lemons (about 1/2 cup). Finely grate 6 ounces Pecorino cheese (about 1 1/2 cups). Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 garlic cloves, and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper to the blender.

  3. Blend until the cheese is broken down and the mixture is smooth, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water to the blender if needed to keep it moving, about 20 seconds. With the motor running, remove the inner cap on the lid and slowly pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. Continue to blend until creamy and emulsified, about 30 seconds more.

  4. Prepare the almonds: Place 2 cups almonds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the almonds darken in color slightly and are very fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately transfer onto a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool for 10 minutes, then coarsely chop.

  5. Prepare the slaw: Prep the following and add to a large bowl: Cut 2 cups pitted dates into bite-sized pieces. Strip the stems from 1 bunch lacinato kale, stack the leaves, and thinly slice into ribbons (about 8 cups). Core and thinly slice 1/2 medium head of red cabbage into ribbons (about 8 cups).

  6. When the farro is ready, drain thoroughly and rinse under cold water to quickly cool it off. Transfer onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry, Transfer to the bowl of vegetables. Add the almonds and 1/4 cup of the dressing. Use your hands to toss everything together, making sure everything is coated well.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The dressed salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Leftover dressing: Any unsused dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and used to refresh the salad throughout the week.