Have you ever considered a vegan diet? Plant-based diets have always intrigued me, but cheese has been the hardest thing for me to think about going without, I adore it. However, the vegan Parmesan cheese in this recipe has me thinking of changing my ways. Or at least made me realize it wouldn’t be as hard as I thought it would be. This hearty salad is so delicious and has so many wonderful health benefits.

Here are some of the main ingredient superpowers:

Kale is among the most nutrient dense foods on earth. It is a great source of vitamin C, is loaded with antioxidants and can help lower cholesterol. Its high in beta-carotene, and is one of the best sources for vitamin K

Farro is rich in fiber, has 28 grams of protein in 1 cup, is full of antioxidants, and has less fat and less calories than brown rice and quinoa.

Beets are high in antioxidants and nutrients; they are an excellent anti-inflammatory, help boost your energy, and can help keep your blood pressure in check. The nitrates in beets promote dilation of blood vessels and improve blood flow through the body and to the brain.

Nutritional Yeast is a great source of antioxidants, trace minerals and vitamins (especially B). It contains ALL 9 essential amino acids, and just one tablespoon contains 2 grams of protein. It’s a wonderful plant based product with a cheesy, nutty, savory flavor.

*The recipe below, for vegan parmesan, makes more than you will need for this salad. You will love it so much, you will be happy to have extra to top on other salads, popcorn (my personal favorite), pizza, pasta, zucchini noodles, roasted veggies, soups, or anything else your heart desires.


Quick Pickled Beets:

  • 1 medium beet
  • ½ cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns

Vegan Parmesan:

  • ½  cup raw pecans
  • ½  cup Braggs nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbls seasoned salt; I use Herbamare, which is amazing


  • ½ cup farro
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 head of Kale, chopped fine
  • 3 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tbls lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts
  • 2 tbls basil, chopped fine


Quick Pickled Beets:

  1. Clean and peel your beet, spiralize it, and place it in a mason jar.
  2. Put vinegar, water, salt and maple syrup in a small sauce pan and simmer until salt and maple syrup are dissolved, it won’t take long.
  3. Pour mixture over the beets in mason jar. Top with mustard seeds and pink peppercorns.
  4. Let cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes, and then they are ready to serve. Cover and refrigerate any left over. They will last in the fridge for about 3 weeks.

Vegan Parmesan:

  1. Place pecans in a food processor and blend until you get a course flourlike consistency.
  2. Add the nutritional yeast and seasoned salt and blend one more time. Store in a sealed glass container in the fridge for about 3 weeks.


  1. Rinse farro. In a small sauce pan, bring farro, apple juice, water and salt to a boil. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Set aside and let farro cool.
  2. Rinse and dry kale, then finely chop.
  3. Mix olive oil and lemon juice and a dash of salt in a jar and shake well.
  4. Massage half the olive oil and lemon dressing into the kale with your fingers well. You want it to slightly soften.
  5. Toss kale with cooled farro and top with pickled beets, pistachios and vegan parmesan. Top with remaining dressing.
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About the Author

Claudia Laffin

Claudia Laffin is a food photographer and owner of The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef, serving clients in and around Asheville, North Carolina. She has been a health food advocate and natural lifestyle follower for over 20 years. During that time she enjoyed working in numerous stores in the health food industry, including Earth Fare! Claudia’s desire to bring health food to more people motivated her to start her personal chef business. She loves cooking healthy, organic, non processed and delicious food for busy families in their own homes and helping them find a path to a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see what new things she’s cooking up!