Farro salad with roasted squash and pistachios


I love farro salad, despite my husband’s mockery. He’s an Italian version of a “meat-and-potatoes” man, and I love taunt him with what he calls “rabbit food.” He always begrudgingly admits that is delicious, but is quick to specify “only as a side dish to meat, of course.”

In the summer, I dress my farro up with basil oil and toss with ripe cherry tomatoes, feta, and kalamata olives. In the springtime, I add bright green peas, barely-blanched asparagus, and a lemon vinaigrette. In the winter months, this is my favorite version: caramelized pumpkin cubes, toasted pistachios, mixed fresh herbs, and bright bursts of dried cranberries.

Farro salad with roasted squash and pistachios

  • 1 2/3 cups (300 g) uncooked farro
  • 1 medium butternut squash (I used the Italian Delica squash), peeled, seeds removed, and diced (approximately 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons diced chives, divided
  • 1 large bunch of mixed green herbs (flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint, oregano, thyme), finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For 6 servings

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Follow the farro package instructions and cook until tender. Meanwhile prepare the vinaigrette and squash. The salad is best if dressed while the farro is still warm.

Toss the squash cubes in a little olive oil and salt, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Do not crowd the squash, use two baking sheets if necessary. Roast the squash in the hot oven for about 20 minutes until brown, caramelized, and tender, stopping once halfway through to flip squash gently and rotate the baking sheet for even cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. In a blender, combine vinegars, 2 tablespoons of chives, all green herbs, mustard, soy sauce, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Blend until it forms a thick paste. While blender is running, slowly add the olive oil until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the cooked farro, then place the in a large serving bowl along with cooked squash, toasted pistachios, and cranberries. Pour the dressing over and toss. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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