Chewy, nutty farro, hearty kale, and crunchy cucumbers and fennel get tossed in a caesar-inspired tahini dressing for an easy make-ahead salad. Like a classic caesar, we’re topping with plenty of parm and black pepper and replacing croutons with crunchy nuts.

Ingredient highlight

Tahini! Is a Middle Eastern condiment made from ground sesame seeds, so it has all of the same benefits as sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are high in lignans, which are powerful antioxidants. They are also rich in fiber, monounsaturated fats, B vitamins, copper, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium.

If your tahini is very bitter, it’s likely gone bad or isn’t good quality. Soom is my favorite brand and totally worth the purchase!

Servings 4 – 6 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • 1 cup farro (about 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, finely chopped (6 cups loosely packed)*
  • 1 bulb fennel, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • Chopped walnuts, for topping
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Black pepper, for topping

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • *For a really fine chop, add kale to your blender and blend until finely chopped.
  • Not into kale salads? ~ Easily sub kale with radicchio or use a mix. You could also use romaine lettuce or arugula, but they don’t hold up as well as leftovers. 


  • In a medium pot, add the farro and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer rapidly for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, lemon, oil, mustard, fish sauce, garlic, and salt until smooth and creamy. The consistency should be creamy, but very drizzle-able. Thin out with more water if it’s too thick (this can vary depending on the thickness/brand of the tahini).
  • Add the greens (if using kale, massage it with a touch of oil to soften it before adding everything else), farro, fennel, and cucumber. Toss well to coat.
  • Serve topped with walnuts, parmesan, and black pepper. See "leftovers" section for tips if you prepped this ahead.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Make the dressing
  • Cook 1 cup farro
  • Thinly slice or finely chop 1 bunch kale (6 cups loosely packed)
  • Thinly slice 1 fennel bulb  (2 cups)
  • Deseed + thinly slice 1 cucumber (2 cups)


  • To make gluten-free, use cooked short grain brown rice, quinoa, or a gluten-free short pasta shape. You could also use about 2 cups of roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other root vegetables.
  • Substitute the fennel and or cucumber with more fennel and/or cucumber or another thinly sliced raw crunchy veggie (radish, carrot, celery) – just make sure you have about 3-4 cups worth total.
  • You can use soy sauce in place of fish sauce.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • I like to pop this in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off – I don’t like frigid cold salads! But you could just eat right out of the fridge. Top with a squeeze of lemon and plenty of cheese and nuts.
  • Top with grilled/cooked chicken, steak, or sausage. 
  • Top with a soft boiled egg or two.

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