Sorghum Salad with Kale Pesto

Sorghum Salad with Kale Pesto - Delicious light vegan and gluten free summer dish! |

I’m always up for trying new things. Last weekend, out of the blue, I decided to take an aerial class. You know, twisty, bendy moves on hanging fabrics à la Cirque du Soleil. Except I am nowhere near as elegant as those performers. Probably never will be. Since I have to climb ropes in a month (oh man, time flies!), I thought aerial dancing would be perfect training for the race.

However, when I got to the studio, I was in for a teensy bit of a surprise. The entire room was pitch black except for a few flashing disco lights. The music was cranked up so high that floorboards vibrated. I was surrounded by a room full of girls wearing tanks and booty shorts, lying on the floor in bridge pose, thrusting their hips and swaying them left and right. Dotted throughout the room where massive poles that reached the ceiling. Ohmygosh, yes, I somehow ended up in the middle of a pole dancing class, feeling inappropriately overclothed. (How often do I get to say that, by the way?) Surprisingly, there were a few guys in the class too who were also inappropriately (or maybe appropriately) overclothed. Maybe they were there to work on their arm strength . . .

As it turns out, I actually walked into the wrong half of the studio—the aerial section was right next door. Whoops.

Sorghum Salad with Kale Pesto - Delicious light vegan and gluten free summer dish! |

The aerial class ended up being a ton of fun, but if there’s anything I learned that afternoon, it’s that I can’t climb. I managed to hoist myself, child-bearing hips and all, onto the silk fabrics and got into a good foot lock. It was such a fantastic lock that I couldn’t get out of it and do any real climbing, not even an inch. I just stood there paralyzed, fingers sore from clutching onto the fabric too hard. Man, I am awesome at standing 4 inches from the ground! I’m determined to get this one though. In the words of my former Gubernator, I’ll be baaaack.


In the spirit of trying new things last weekend, this sorghum salad happened. Sorghum is an ancient grain that I’ve been noticing everywhere lately. It’s nutty, gluten-free, and super easy to prepare. Just dump it in a pot of boiling water and let the grains do its thang. Customize this salad with your summer favorites! Go wild. As wild as a pole dancing.

One more fun fact about sorghum: it will not give you sore gums. Get it??  Love my horrible puns.

Kale Pesto Sorghum Salad

Nutty sorghum flavors are paired with a bold kale pesto and a ton of summer vegetables. Makes a great vegan and gluten-free side dish! Serves 4.

5 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

55 minTotal Time

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  • 1 cup sorghum , rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • Kale Pesto
  • 1 1/3 cups kale (about a small handful)
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (40g) pine nuts
  • 3 TBS nutritional yeast*
  • 3 TBS water
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 TBS yellow miso paste (adjust to taste)
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • Salad
  • 6 oz (170g) plum tomatoes, halved
  • large handful of microgreens
  • 1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 TBS chopped parsley (optional)
  • toasted pine nuts for topping (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add sorghum, water, and a pinch of salt to a large saucepan and bring water to boil. Once the water has boiled, bring water to a low simmer and let the grains cook for 50 minutes, half covered. The sorghum is cooked when grains are soft but with some chew. Drain excess water.
  2. When the sorghum is nearly done, prepare the pesto. Throw all pesto ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a salt, if desired.
  3. Toss sorghum with 1/4 cup of pesto. Save remaining pesto for another pasta or pizza dish. Mix in the plum tomatoes, microgreens, green onions, chopped parsley, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Best served immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Cuisine: gluten-free, vegan | Recipe Type: entree, sides


1. Inspired by Vegetarian Time's Sorghum and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Tabbouleh .

2. *If you're not making this a vegan dish, you can sub nutritional yeast for 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese.


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

32 thoughts on “Sorghum Salad with Kale Pesto

  1. EA-The Spicy RD
    Love your "aerial/pole dancing" story-too funny! And, this salad is absolutely gorgeous. I've been baking w/ sorghum flour for a long time, but only recently cooked it as a whole gain, and I loved it! Definitely will be making this soon!!
  2. Danae @ Recipe Runner
    Ha! I can just imagine the look on your face when you walked into the pole dancing class Lisa! I would have died. This salad looks amazing! I love those nutty grains and the kale pesto sounds so good!
  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom
    Lisa, I first tried sorghum a few years ago and have LOVED it ever since!!! I have a go-to recipe that I always make. . a salad with baked curry spiced garbanzo beans and other stuff. . but THIS SALAD!!! This salad is happening next!!!! WOW-ZA! gorgeous!
  4. Anna
    I've had never heard of sorghum before but it looks amaziing!! can't wait to try it :D
    1. Lisa Post author
      Oh my gosh, you would SO LOVE an aerial class! There has to be a few places that do that in DC! Thanks for the kind words, girl!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Haha, I actually wanted to break down and laugh when I walked in too---kind of an "what the heck did I get myself into" kind of a laugh.
  5. Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    Way to goooo Lisa! Trying new things is the best and something that challenging, you get a standing ovation! How funny you first walked into the wrong class... good thing you found the right one! I can't even imagine dangling for sheets of silk, but what an amazing experience! YaY! YOU! This salad is so nourishing and vibrant. I've not tried Sorghum, but have read about it. I'll keep in on my radar next time I head to the Co-Op. They've got everything in bulk. Love that kale pesto as well. This would make a fabulous make ahead lunch for the week! oh and love the pun! HA! Thank you for this, Lisa! Have a beautiful weekend!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Thanks, Traci! I was quite skeptical that the silks would hold my weight, but the fabrics are incredibly sturdy!!
  6. Nagi@RecipeTinEats
    I'm impressed you did an aerial class but SO disappointed you didn't stick with the pole dancing class! And WHERE are the photos?? You better post some so we can admire your grace!!! You know, I have never cooked with Sorghum before. Thanks for the inspiration! And pinning! (PS Love vegan dishes that I just never think of as vegan :) )
    1. Lisa Post author
      Haha, Nagi, I swear I'll try the pole dancing one day---those women are so strong! I swear, once I learn how to may climb a few inches, there will be photos!!
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