Recipe: Crispy Orange Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Farro in a Walnut Vinaigrette

There is a certain pleasure in life when you can completely transform one item into an entirely different beast, even with something as mundane as leftovers.  A few nights ago I made a simple dinner of salmon, sautéed kale and roasted sweet potatoes.  The following night as I stared into the fridge hoping something marvelous would miraculously appear for dinner, the leftover kale and potatoes were staring me back in the face.  I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of leftovers (unless it’s soup or pasta), but I decided to get creative.  The end result is the recipe here, which was ironically 10 times better than the first go around.

Crispy Orange Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Farro in a Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4


(Farro Salad)

  • 1 1/2 cups Farro, cooked according to package instructions
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup water

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Walnut Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from 1 orange (zest saved for chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup walnut oil


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, preferably antibiotic and hormone-free
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


For sweet potatoes:  Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and just tender inside, about 30 minutes. Remove and keep on the pan until ready to dress.

For kale:  In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. After 10-15 seconds, add the crushed red pepper, garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the kale, in batches, stirring continuously until the greens wilt slightly. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the water and salt, cover, continuing to cook until greens are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes longer.  Remove from pan; give kale another quick chop into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl mix together cooked farro, kale, roasted potatoes, walnuts and cranberries.  In a separate bowl, whisk together cider vinegar, orange juice, honey, salt, and pepper.  Slowly whisk in walnut oil.  Pour dressing over farro, tossing well to coat.  Mix in parsley, reserving some for garnish.

For chicken:  Pound chicken to an even thickness (about ¾ inch), sprinkle with half the salt and pepper.  In a bowl mix together panko, remaining salt and pepper, orange zest and marjoram.  Dredge chicken into panko mixture to coat well.  Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, add chicken, and reduce heat to medium.  Cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side.

(If using leftover sweet potatoes or kale, simply heat up and toss in)


  • Farro: This ancient whole grain is full of fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins A and C, which are both powerful antioxidants that work in the body to remove free radicals.
  • Kale: One of the best vegetables/foods you can put in your body. Kale contains abundant amounts of soluble fiber, calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C and K1; optimizing cell detoxification and internal cleansing.  It’s known to provide protection against cancer; studies have shown it contains some of the most potent cancer fighting phytochemicals of all vegetables.
  • Walnuts: Are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.




3 thoughts on “Recipe: Crispy Orange Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Farro in a Walnut Vinaigrette

  1. I made the orange chicken last night and it was FANTASTIC! It was so delicious and easy, and it felt great to eat something that was nutritious and full of flavor. This recipe is a definite “repeat”.

    • Thank you, Amy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the simplicity of this as well as the pop of flavor the orange and marjoram give the chicken. You can also experiment with the flavors – rosemary or thyme with lemon zest is another great variation.

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