broccoli rabe and kale harvest salad

Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!

This post is sponsored by Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe.

Kale picking for a Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!Farro for a Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!
Hey American friends. I see your Thanksgiving holiday coming up, and I offer you this colourful and hearty salad, along with a few other tidbits. Our Canadian version of the holiday has already come and gone. I got a couple dinners in and a little downtime, so a win overall. One thing that weirdly seeps across borders, despite the different times of year, is Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Given the condition of the world and some of the people that live in it, maybe you can understand why this occasion really isn’t my bag. I think it’s cool that some retailers are principled enough to not go along with the frenzied flow of it all. And hey, maybe a massive opting out is reaching into trend territory after all. In the meantime, here’s a few bullet points on avoiding the spectacle and just having a great weekend in general

Go low tech. Maybe there’s one person in your family that makes the holiday meal, maybe it’s a potluck scenario. Either way, it’s cool to get involved and get your hands busy with something that isn’t a smartphone/other device. This extends beyond food, too! Get crafty/all-natural with a table setting, make some cute name cards, fold those napkins all nice, prune some branches. You get the idea. Some table-setting inspiration here, here, and here.

Go outside. This one falls even lower than going low tech. Take the dog for a long walk. Find a new spot for an autumnal hike. Sip a coffee or tea in the brisk air and feel the warmth on a more sincere level. Look up at the trees. Smell the air. Practice some reverence for this world. It feels good in a full-to-the-brim sort of way when you really commit.

Get interested. Holiday times are when I get some reading done or I finally watch some TV series that everyone’s raved about. Cozying up, sweatpants, blankets, lazy times etc. I highly recommend Master of None if you have Netflix. Then you can listen to all of the amazing music from the show. And THEN you can remember how seriously life-changing Return of the Mack is.

Think about the future-possible. Downtime over the holidays leaves a little extra space in my head for dreaming and thinking about the next steps in life. It could be something huge like a career move, or something kinda ho-hum like trying to drink a green smoothie every day for a week after the feasts are over.

Enjoy yourself in real time. Have conversations, give hugs and kisses, laugh, go for an extra glass of wine. Enjoying those simple things, and knowing your good fortune in being able to do so, is the definition of the good life.

And don’t forget to eat a salad/have some vegetables for extra vibrance. I created this colourful salad with kale and broccoli rabe as an unusual and light counter to all of the heavier holiday fare. There’s a hot pink cranberry-orange dressing that’s spiked with ginger and maple syrup. Chewy cooked farro fills the dish out, along with some crunchy walnuts and thin wisps of fennel, apple, and red onion. I find that incorporating lots of colours and small/thin cuts of vegetables makes for greater success with healthier dishes at large get-togethers. The small cuts seem less committal maybe? Hope you try this one for yourself or for a feast sometime soon :)

Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!Broccoli Rabe + Kale Harvest Salad // via thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!
broccoli rabe and kale harvest salad recipe

Print the recipe here!
serves: 8
notes: You could cook up an equal amount of wild rice, millet, or quinoa for a gluten-free option.

salad ingredients:
¾ cup farro, rinsed
2 cups water
1 bunch of broccoli rabe
1 bunch of lacinato/dino kale; about 5 packed cups of chopped kale
1 small fennel bulb
1 small sweet apple (such as gala or honey crisp)
½ small red onion (roughly ¼ cup of thin slices)
¼ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped

orange-cranberry dressing ingredients:
scant ½ cup frozen whole cranberries, thawed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled + roughly chopped
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the rinsed farro, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the farro to a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the farro for 25 minutes, or until it’s cooked through and still has a bit of chew. Drain the farro and set aside.

Rinse out the saucepan that you used for the farro and fill it with about 2 inches of water. Place the pot over medium heat. Let it come to a light boil. Set up an ice bath in a medium sized bowl.

Trim the tough stems off of the broccoli rabe and cut it into bite-pieces. Drop half of the cut broccoli rabe into the saucepan and place the lid on it right away. Allow the rabe to steam for about 3-4 minutes, or until tender and lightly wilted. Transfer the steamed broccoli rabe to the ice bath. Repeat this blanching process with the remaining broccoli rabe.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place the chopped kale into a large bowl. Trim the fennel bulb, reserving some of the fronds, and removing the core. Shave the fennel with a mandolin right over the bowl with the kale. Remove the apple core and shave it with a mandolin over the large bowl. Remove the tough outer peel of the red onion and shave it with a mandolin over the large bowl.

Squeeze all of the excess water out of the blanched broccoli rabe and place it in the large bowl with the kale and other shaved fruits/vegetables. Add the cooked farro to the bowl as well.

To make the dressing, combine the thawed cranberries, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, fresh ginger, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in an upright blender. Blend the mixture on high until you have a smooth consistency.

Season the salad with salt and pepper and pour three quarters of the orange-cranberry onto the salad. Massage the dressing into the kale, broccoli rabe, farro, and other fruits and vegetables until everything is evenly coated. Transfer the dressed salad to a large platter. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and garnish the salad with the chopped walnuts and fennel fronds.

*This post was created in partnership with Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!

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  • Synnøve17/11/2015 - 5:32 am

    This looks delicious! your photos are stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Anneli17/11/2015 - 7:43 am

    This looks like such a healthy wholesome salad! I was just reading about lowering blood pressure naturally and one thing I need to eat more of is dark leafy greans like kale. I sometimes get stumped on ways to add variety and this is a salad that I’ll definitely try!ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/11/2015 - 11:03 am

      The dark leafy greens have so many superpowers. It can be hard to get creative with them after a while though. Hope this salad can inspire you a bit! ;)
      ;)ReplyCancel

  • danielle is rooting the sun17/11/2015 - 10:32 am

    laura, your lacinato is so gorgeous, and the light you capture gives it the most beautiful and glowing bath. perfect autumnal recipe, these elements i adore. farro is on my heavy rotation currently, i cannot escape my passion for the bite. + the orange cranberry dressing is solid. thank you for sharing such important tips/reminders for a good holiday weekend – i think with all the technology it can be easy to lose sight of the gratuitous reasons we are gathering initially for. enjoying the real time is perfect. xo, love to your autumn.ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/11/2015 - 11:02 am

      Thanks Danielle! I’ve just kind of re-discovered farro recently. Used to love it and eat it a lot, but then kind of quit. But we’re back at it again because that chew is one-of-a-kind. So good. Hope you’re staying cozy out there :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full17/11/2015 - 11:03 am

    Oh Laura the light in these photos is just stunning! I think you are one of the best photographers at capturing natural light. And it’s so appropriate considering your words in this post! I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be taking advantage of some of the cyber monday deals, but I am all for going outside and unplugging from technology. One of the rituals my dad and I have is that we always go for a hike after the Thanksgiving dinner, to burn off some of the food coma vibes and enjoy nature! :DReplyCancel

    • Laura19/11/2015 - 10:49 am

      Thanks for this ultra kind comment, Sarah! Hope you enjoy some outdoors AND some food coma vibes ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Harriet17/11/2015 - 12:12 pm

    Yum, yum, yum! Cruciferous veg for the win. Also love your tips! Cozy-vibes are king :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/11/2015 - 10:48 am

      Hope you’re stayin’ cozy too, girl ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Heidi Kokborg18/11/2015 - 6:48 am

    This salad look really good! And just perfect for winter!ReplyCancel

  • allysia18/11/2015 - 11:41 am

    I really need to give broccoli rabe another go – the last time I made it, it was inedible. I’m not a picky person, but it was awful. I think it was the cook’s fault though, not the poor rabe! I think pairing it with these sweet ingredients is the way to go.ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/11/2015 - 10:47 am

      It can be surprisingly bitter, but you’re right: pairing it with slightly sweeter or more acidic flavours really helps. Although, my favourite way to eat it is sautéed with a ton of garlic, and then just stuffed between two pieces of crusty bread. Simple goodness :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)19/11/2015 - 3:35 pm

    CAN’T EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT THIS SALAD. Also I can’t wait to try that dressing on everything bc you’re the vibey dressing/sauce queen of the internet. I love your check list on how to have a great holiday, too. i really connect with those feelings. also i think i personally needed those reminders so thank you! i’ll be making some more space to breath and walk and find the joy. <3ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw19/11/2015 - 6:36 pm

    Sooo beautiful, Laura. I find myself trying to sneak cranberry something into as much as I can this time of year. This salad for sure has to make it to my holiday table! /is waaay more approachable than a vegan “log”. Your tips for a more meditative celebration are amazing and much needed. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Becca | Spices and Spatulas19/11/2015 - 9:02 pm

    This is everything I’ve ever wanted to eat! And I really love your thoughts on how to approach the holidays, a time that can be SO overwhelming. You rock, lady! xoReplyCancel

  • rachel @ athletic avocado19/11/2015 - 10:35 pm

    This hearty salad would be a great side dish for thanksgiving dinner! I especially love the sound of that cranberry orange dressing! yum!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well20/11/2015 - 11:14 am

    I love all of these tips/recommendations for getting back to the roots of what Thanksgiving is about, and how to really enjoy the holiday. Big hugs to you for promoting all that you do, and for making yummy dish after dish to inspire us all <3 (Ps. Glad to see you out from hiding before your big deadline! I listened to JM's podcast with you – you're such a hoot, I adore you, good luck in your last week lady!)ReplyCancel

  • Sofie Bollen21/11/2015 - 10:25 am

    wow this looks so good!! gonna try this tomorrow! xx sofieReplyCancel

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  • Sherrie22/11/2015 - 3:19 pm

    I agree with Sarah ^, your ability to capture light is like no other. This salad is a beaut Laura. I’m loving these tips, especially all that ‘get interest’ business. I’m flying through Master of None, and have a stack of books waiting to be read over the next few weeks, snuggled up with some cozy vibes. xxReplyCancel

  • ratna22/11/2015 - 11:32 pm

    Love the holiday tips, specially going ‘low tech’. I looove salads. Thanks for sharing this wholesome recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Amy (Lemon and Coconut)23/11/2015 - 2:50 pm

    Very sound advice, thank you! And such a beautiful recipe and beautiful photos too :)ReplyCancel

  • Chelsey23/11/2015 - 7:34 pm

    Great photography! I’d be happy to sit and look at this gorgeous salad and your photos although I’m sure it tastes lovely as well. It’s a refreshing change from all of the standard thanksgiving recipes going around at the moment. xReplyCancel

  • what’s good around the web!29/11/2015 - 12:07 pm

    […] on my radar this week is this Mediterranean Whole Wheat Orzo Salad from Immaeatthat, Broccoli Rabe and Kale Harvest Salad from The First Mess, and this Creamy Spinach Gratin from The Foodie […]ReplyCancel

  • Quite Chefy01/12/2015 - 4:59 pm

    This looks like such a light, refreshing salad for those days where you just don’t want a heavy meal. I will def. give this a taste in the future.ReplyCancel

  • Daria Grey04/12/2015 - 5:21 am

    Mmmm look so delicious. I have a problem with my stomach and in my opinion this recipe is perfect for my daily meal! Thank you, for the recipe Laura. Well done! I will try to prepare It asap :)ReplyCancel

  • c07/12/2015 - 6:42 am

    Stunning photos, makes me want to eat it right now! Well done:)ReplyCancel

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