Steak & Farro Recovery Salad
I’m not being melodramatic – this salad has every vitamin and mineral in it. It lifts my mood. It beats fatigue. It recovers my muscles quicker after heavy workouts. It’s magic.
It’s my favorite dinner salad – possibly my all-around favorite thing to eat – and we eat it a minimum of once a month, usually on a Wednesday which I have semi-arbitrarily dubbed “Entree Salad” night. It tastes light yet satisfying, creamy yet tangy.
The picture above does not have a soft boiled egg but I highly encourage including one!
The inspiration and base for this salad came from my Nike days – I was following Olympic Marathoner Shalane Flanagan (sometimes even seeing her running around campus). She published a cookbook with her longtime friend, Elyse Kopecky. The name of the cookbook is Run Fast, Eat Slow – and by the way, it is one of the best cookbooks for athletes I have ever seen. Highly recommend! It’s available in our Cookshop.
They have a Kale-Farro Salad recipe that doesn’t include steak or egg. I’ve left the Lemon-Miso dressing as they call for it pretty much intact (except doubling the garlic – you all know how I feel about garlic). But from there, I really vary in what I put in this salad. On any given day it’s got a smorgasbord of whatever “Building Blocks” I’ve got in my fridge:
– Sometimes Lacinto Kale, sometimes Red or Purple Leaf
– Sometimes Radicchio, sometimes Red or even Napa Cabbage
– Sometimes some arugula or spinach thrown in
– If they’re in season, some halved cherry tomatoes make great flavor bombs in this dish
– Sometimes grated Parmesan stirred in, sometimes shaved on top
– Sometimes my Bulk Toasted Walnuts, sometimes roasted Pepitas or sliced almonds
– Always include Farro, but once in a pinch I used Brown Basmati Rice I had on hand. Farro is the best option though – its chewy and slightly nutty
– And always – always – a soft boiled egg, cooked perfectly at 6 minutes, and a protein – usually grilled, grass-fed flank or skirt steak though I’ve thrown in grilled chicken thigh also
I just don’t know how to describe what happens when all of these wonderful flavors, textures and nutrients come together. You can’t leave out the grains or the parmesan or the egg or the protein or the dressing…and if you have to, it just doesn’t have the same power-punch.
Don’t be afraid to really load up the kale as the base. A normal soup bowl won’t do it. I use a big flat wood salad bowl. This salad is meant for recovery and it needs to be big and unapologetic.
A lot of times, most of the elements of this salad are already cooked or on hand as Building Blocks. My preference is to fresh-cook the egg, and the steak, so they are hot and fresh on top of the cold crisp bed of greens.
Let’s take a look at what this salad is giving you.
KALE: A Brassica powerhouse, I used to shy away from kale because of how hipster-trendy it became in Portland. But then I discovered that once it was sliced fine and paired with super bright/acidic dressing, as well as loads of umami from the parmesan, egg and steak, it is really the perfect salad base. Kale is a best-of-all-worlds food, low in calories and packed to the hilt with nutrition—vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidant phytonutrients—you name it. It’s also sturdy enough to stand up to this very assertive dressing.
DRESSING: The dressing calls for anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-viral superfood garlic as well as lemon juice, miso, and olive oil. This is a really strong dressing, one that wouldn’t be proper on more delicate lettuce like butter or leaf. But it counters the bitterness in kale just perfectly.
STEAK: If you don’t eat red meat or cows, feel free to substitute your protein with fresh grilled chicken thighs, or even some wild salmon. Either of them are an excellent source of iron and essential amino acids, which are involved in every function in the human body – including hormone regulation and mood stabilization.
And as I mention in every post, it is CRUCIAL in today’s age of factory farmed, industrial/corporatized meat production that you source as local, small and grassfed as you possibly can. Not only is it better for the ethnical treatment of animals, but its going to help save our environment, and relieve our bodies from the nasty toxins, heavy metal build-up and antibiotics they feed those poor creatures on the mega-farms.
If you’re in need of pastured meat options, check out Where To Shop.
EGG: Eggs have gotten a bad rap, which is unfair. They are basically a complete multi-vitamin, as they were meant to sustain life. They also contain loads of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. Plus, they just add a delicious richness to everything they touch.
Same as meat, the huge difference is to eat eggs from local, happy hens. Your eggs will be higher in crucial omega 3 fatty acids, lower in toxins from industrialized feed, and you’ll be less exposed to diseases from neglectful, overcrowded conditions – like salmonella poisoning. A good soft-boiled farm egg is a treat. Happy hens make happy eggs.
FARRO: You would be missing out if you did not add this healthy, ancient grain to your meal. It alleviates any post-salad carb cravings you might get, and it’s loaded with fiber, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Just a 1/4 cup contains 15% your recommended dose of both magnesium and zinc, and 20% your recommended fiber intake. Farro is easy to make in a big batch – I usually make it on Sunday as a Building Block and keep it in the fridge for the week, tossing it into anything and everything or using it as a side in place of rice.
PARMESAN: Called the King of Cheeses, Parmesan is the oldest known type of cheese. It was first produced by Benedictine and Cistercian monks over a thousand years ago. It is very high in protein, calcium and vitamins, and has this indescribable umami flavor that is a result of aging it a minimum of one year.
High in sodium, a tablespoon of this cheese grated is like sprinkling an umami salt over your meal. It’s absolutely delicious, and OK for people suffering from lactose intolerance. Because lactose is a sugar, over the course of aging bacteria has eaten all but trace levels of the sugars from the milk. However, if you suffer from a dairy allergy (usually due not to the carbohydrate lactose, but instead to a protein such as casein or whey), you should continue to avoid all dairy including parmesan.
Modifying for Crowds
A quick note that because this is such a staple for people tracking macros or fitness, this recipe is based one one single dinner serving. You can easily make two for a couple as you’ll have all the elements on hand. If making for a dinner party or potluck as a side, I will omit the steak and egg, utilize TWO heads of kale with one HALF head of radicchio (it is quite dense), full batch of farro (one cup dry) and 1/2 cup parmesan. I throw it all together with the full batch of dressing in a large serving bowl, where it will serve 10-14 quite easily.
Alrighty, enough yapping – you’ve got some body or mind depletion going on. Let’s get to feeding you!
Steak & Faro Healing Salad
Combine all ingredients in OXO Dressing shaker, or small mason jar with lid. Use a fork to break up the miso and stir well, then close tightly and shake vigorously until well emulsified.
Nutrition Per Serving