Nobody Wants a Bad Salad

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An ongoing joke in my circle is that I hate salad. But here's the thing: I don't hate salad. I hate bad salad. You know the type: wet Iceberg lettuce, mushy tomato wedges that must've been cut with a butter knife, cucumber slices that taste like dirt, croutons from a box, and oil & vinegar (because the only other options have more calories than a burger). Aside from the fact that it tastes terrible, the nutritional value is just sad. If you actually eat it, you're still starving. If you don't eat it, you're still starving. So, sometimes, it's just easier to say that I hate salad (and then make my own).

Even though I consider myself a "summer person," the flavors of fall are my favorite. I can't get enough of them. Give me Brussels sprouts all day, every day. Sweet potatoes? Yes, please.

In yet another way to use these ingredients, I made a salad. An awesome, grounding, flavorful, perfect salad. Not only is it extremely delicious, but it is full of quality nutritional benefits:

Farro: high in fiber, full of B vitamins, and an excellent source of protein, iron, and zinc.
Brussels sprouts: when combined with a whole grain (farro!), they are a complete protein. They are loaded with vitamins A, K, & C, and are digestion powerhouses.
Kale: full of vitamins and minerals, a great source of calcium, high in fiber, and anti-inflammatory.
Sweet Potatoes: one of the best sources of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamins and minerals, one of which is magnesium, sometimes referred to as the anti-stress and relaxation mineral. Additionally, they help to ward off cravings for sugar!
Avocados: have more potassium than bananas in addition to being loaded with good fats.
Apples: full of antioxidants and soluble fiber.

Top all of that off with a Creamy Apple Cider Dijon Dressing, and you've got a winning combination. My boyfriend continually asks for this, and you know that you're doing something right if your boyfriend is always craving a salad! 

Autumn Harvest Salad with Creamy Apple Cider Dijon Dressing

Can be served warm or chilled // Serves 4 // Vegan

Ingredients:

(For the Salad)
- 1 Bunch Lacinato (also called Dinosaur) Kale, stemmed & thinly sliced
- 1 Cup Farro, cooked
- 1 Sweet Potato, diced
- 1 Cup Brussels Sprouts, diced
- 1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1 Avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced
- 1/2 Apple (I used Gala, but your favorite will do!)
- A squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice
(For the Dressing)
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 Apple (the other half from the salad)
- 1/4 Shallot
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (start with 1, add 2 if you like the taste of ACV)
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider (optional, but awesome)
- 1 Teaspoon Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard

- 1 Clove Garlic
- A squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice
- Sea or Pink Salt & Pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a blender. Blend to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill.
2. If you haven't cooked your farro, do that now! Farro cooks like pasta: add it to a saucepan with more than enough water, salt it, and bring to a boil. Cook until al dente, anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Drain, rinse, and put aside.
3. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat, and add sweet potatoes. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
4. Add Brussels sprouts to pan, and continue to saute for another 5 minutes, or until edges begin to crisp. Add extra coconut oil if pan gets too dry. Remove from heat.
5. In a large bowl, add kale, farro, and cooked vegetables. Toss to combine.
6. Core and thinly slice 1/2 apple into thin matchsticks. Toss in small bowl with lemon juice to prevent browning. 
7. Add apple matchsticks and avocado to salad, toss to combine.
8. Serve with dressing and top with cracked black pepper.