I’m a big fan of grain sides and salads … especially when farro is the grain of choice. Grain salads are usually heartier and more satisfying than leafy salads. And this recipe is definitively satisfying!
Farro is an ancient grain, yet it’s ideal on your thoroughly modern table. If not familiar with it, it’s got a slight nutty taste and a delightfully chewy texture. You’ll adore it as a base for this dish. Here it’s ideal for fall through early spring as it features prunes and lightly caramelized butternut squash for a punch of produce and a touch of sweet. (Hint: The prunes provide gut and bone health benefits!) It’s perfectly paired with pecans, scallions, and a generous amount of fresh basil and parsley for a savory and fragrant balance. It’s all dressed with an apple cider vinaigrette to brighten all the flavors.
As a bonus, this colorful recipe is quite versatile. Serve it warm, cool, or at room temperature. If you like, enjoy it as a leafier salad by adding fresh baby arugula. Or transform it into an entrée by topping with crumbled soft cashew cheese or, if not following a 100% plant-based eating plan, soft goat cheese. (Hint: I’ve been enjoying it as an entrée pretty regularly in recent days, FYI!) It keeps well for about three days in the fridge.
Disclosure: At time of posting, Jackie was a spokesperson for California Prunes. Recipe originally published at https://www.californiadriedplums.org/recipes/farro-with-california-prunes-butternut-squash-and-pecans.
farro with california prunes, butternut squash & pecans
Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: 1 rounded cup
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (divided)
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked farro or whole grain of choice*
- 10 California prunes (dried plums), thinly sliced (3 ounces)
- 4 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1/2-inch)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts, separated
- 1/2 cup packed thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces or pine nuts, preferably pan-toasted
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
- Add the farro to 5 cups of cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook according to package directions until tender. (Note: Cooking time will vary.) Drain well of excess liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Add the cooked farro and sliced prunes to the apple cider mixture; stir to combine and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron or other stick-resistant skillet over medium heat. Add the butternut squash cubes and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and cook while stirring occasionally until just-tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. (Hint: If prefer richer caramelization, increase heat to medium-high towards the end of this sauté process.) Add the white part of the scallions and cook while stirring occasionally until the scallions are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. (Note: Do not over stir to prevent squash from getting mushy.)
- Add the butternut squash cube mixture and scallion greens to the farro mixture. Gently stir. Adjust seasoning.
- Stir in the basil, parsley, and pecans and serve warm or at room temperature. Alternatively, chill the farro mixture, then stir in the basil, parsley, and pecans, and serve cool.
Per serving: 330 calories, 14g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 610mg sodium, 40g total carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 8g total sugars, includes 0g added sugars, 8g protein
*Hint: You can save time by picking up an 8.8-ounce package of 365 Everyday Value Organic Italian Farro from Whole Foods Market. It’s ready in just 10 minutes!