Fall farro salad

Raindrops and dew drops and whiskers on kittens. How about apples, squash, and roasting Brussels sprouts wearing oven mittens? The fall season brings many of my favorite things into the kitchen. I love this whole-grain salad, which features farro, an ancient grain dating back thousands of years in the Middle East, North Africa, and later in the Mediterranean. It is nutty, holds its texture, and is a good source of protein and fiber — making it an excellent backdrop for grain salads. Cooking it in part apple cider is an excellent fall tip gleaned from a popular New York City restaurant. Feel free to substitute your favorite fall produce into this recipe.

Servings: 10, as a side dish

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 cups farro
  • 2 cups apple cider or apple juice
  • 3 to 4 bay leaves
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 to 2 Honeycrisp apples, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the farro in a colander and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Combine the rinsed farro in a large pot with the apple cider or juice, 4 cups of water, bay leaves, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the grain is crisp-tender to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, as the farro begins to cook, peel and seed the squash. Dice the squash into one-inch chunks. Stem the Brussels and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the sprout. Toss these vegetable chunks in a large bowl with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes until browned, which should take about 30 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables roast and the farro cooks, spread the almonds out on a smaller baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Make the vinaigrette by combining the minced shallots with the apple cider vinegar and the lemon juice. Let this macerate for about 10 minutes. Next, add the mustard, a pinch of salt, some black pepper, and the 3/4 cup of olive oil. Whisk vigorously together or shake it all up in a mason jar.
  6. When the farro is done, drain it, discard the bay leaves, and run a little cool water over it to stop the cooking process.
  7. To serve, combine the farro, roasted vegetables, cranberries, toasted almonds, apple, parsley, and vinaigrette. This is excellent served at room temperature, and even better the next day, so it can be prepared ahead of time as needed.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 410
  • Total fat: 23 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 50 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7 g
  • Sugars: 14 g
  • Protein: 8 g

Contributor

Benjamin Maring, MD