Have you ever eaten fregola? The little toasted rounds of pasta look like Israeli couscous–relatively large, dried balls of semolina flour baked until golden. They get that color not just from time spent under heat, but often a bit of saffron. Fregola’s home base is Sardinia, one of those Italian islands in the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll find this imported pasta at specialty markets or high end grocery stores. Although fregola is not the most inexpensive pasta on the shelf, it is worth at least one round on your dinner table. Fregola is the base of this salad perfect for your end of summer cookouts or grilling parties, including the quickly approaching Labor Day weekend. Bring the fregola, and your guests will be impressed.
I think many people would like to see kale salads fall back in light of a new vegetable trend, but I think the cruciferous green will manage to stick around for a bit longer. Instead of using it as the base for this salad, it’s just a supporting character, allowing the tender, yet slightly chewy balls of pasta shine. The fregola and kale are seasoned by a light dressing of parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil, which helps break down the greens. The red onions and almonds add even more crunch to a salad that has levels of texture and flavor that work well warm or after some time in the fridge. Fregola is often paired with seafood thanks to Sardinia’s sea location. You could easily swap grilled or seared shrimp for chicken in this salad based on your preference, and it would be just as delicious.
- 1 pound cooked fregola, warm
- 4 ounces fresh kale leaves, chopped
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan
- Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded
- 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Toss the fregola with the kale, parmesan, lemon zest and juice and olive oil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes as the kale softens.
- Add the chicken, onions and almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.