Asian Kale Salad with Farro, Apples, and Edamame

This Asian Kale Salad is loaded with healthy ingredients including farro, edamame, carrots, apples, green onions, and a delicious maple ginger dressing.

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Healthy Asian Kale Salad with Farro, Apples, and Edamame will make anyone a kale lover! Packed with good-for-you ingredients it's a vegetarian salad that leaves you full and satisfied. We love this salad on its own or paired with Asian Broiled Chicken Thighs or Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken.

Although it may be a complete cliche since it's January, I have been eating a ton of kale salads this month. Part of the reason I love kale salads so much is that they keep in the fridge so much better than a traditional salad. Sometimes they even get better in my opinion since the ingredients and flavors have some time to meld. This couldn't be truer in this Asian Kale Salad. 

My general philosophy when it comes to salads is to create them using whatever veggies, grains, and proteins I have on hand that week. This week I had some farro I had prepped over the weekend and a bag of frozen edamame I wanted to finish. Using the edamame for inspiration, I whipped up a quick sesame Asian dressing using rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, and ginger. Then I added some carrots and apples for crunch and sweetness. You could also throw in some purple cabbage - it would be delicious and add another crunchy element.

Most days this week I have enjoyed it plain since it is plenty filling with the farro and edamame, but if you are feeling extra hungry, it's also yummy with sliced chicken, broiled tofu, or shrimp. Honestly, almost any leftover protein would work.

Do I need to massage the kale?

The short answer is no, you don't have to massage the kale - but believe me when I say you should. It will make a huge difference in the end product. Massaging kale helps to break down and soften some of the tougher, more fibrous bits of the kale. This results in a softer, more palatable green that tastes much better. It also tones down the bitterness in the kale, making it more appealing to anyone who isn't a kale freak like me.

What kind of kale should I use?

There are many different varieties of kale but the ones most often seen in grocery stores are curly kale and Lacinato kale, also called Tuscan kale and dinosaur kale. Curly kale is normally lighter green in color and has curly leaves as the name implies. Lacinato kale tends to be darker green and has long flat leave. Both varieties of kale will work in this Asian Kale Salad, but I tend to favor Lacinato kale since it is more tender. 

Could I substitute in a different green?

If kale isn't your favorite, you can use almost any green for this salad. Consider using chopped Romaine, butter lettuce, spinach, or arugula. However since these greens tend to wilt faster, you will want to eat this immediately after preparing it or plan on packing the dressing separately.

How do I cook farro? Can I use a different grain?

If you haven't cooked farro before, it's a nutty whole grain that's nutritious and relatively easy to cook. You will want to use a ratio of 1:2 for farro to liquid. For example, if you want to cook 1 cup of farro, you will need two cups of liquid. You can use water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth. Bring the farro and liquid to a boil and then stir and turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes until the farro is tender and cooked through. 

If you can't find farro or prefer to use a different grain, almost anything will work in this Asian Kale Salad. Consider substituting brown rice, couscous, quinoa, or barley. You could also use chickpeas or lentils for a different spin.

Looking for more kale salad recipes? Check out this Southwestern Kale, Quinoa, and Sweet Potato Salad, Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Avocado Kale Salad, Kale Caesar Quinoa Bowl, Maple Dijon Kale Salad with Apples and Cashews, or Shredded Kale and Plum Salad.

The Recipe
Asian Kale Salad with Farro, Apples, and Edamame

Asian Kale Salad with Farro, Apples, and Edamame

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  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2.5 tbsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 1.5 cups cooked farro
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce (GF if needed)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup (or honey, agave)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced

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Start by massaging the kale with half of the sesame oil for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften and wilt.


Make the dressing by whisking the remaining sesame oil with the rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, and ginger.


Toss the kale with the farro, apple, edamame, carrots, green onions, and dressing. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 270
Calories from Fat 105
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 260mg
Total Carbohydrate 40g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Sugars 9g
Protein 10g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Asian Kale Salad with Farro, Apples, and Edamame
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Jackie Lewis
October 6, 2023 - 04:15
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I have made this numerous times and have passed the recipe on to all of my family members. It’s a holiday or large get together staple. Thank you !!
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