This farro salad is jam packed with flavors. From the roasted butternut squash to the caramelized onions every bite will be the perfect bite.
I fell in love with farro salads after a friend of mine and her sister, whom is also a friend, had a dinner where they made a farro salad. Since then I have experimented with all kinds of ingredients. One of the best things for this recipe is that it is vegetarian and you really don’t miss the meat at all. With this recipe you can either make it a side or a main course.
What goes in farro salad?
This recipe has caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, arugula, feta cheese, pine nuts, and of course farro. With all of these ingredients there is quite a bit of room for swapping out some items for those that you might like more. Check out the mix it up section further below for additional ingredient ideas.
When roasting the butternut squash you will want to use a potato peeler to remove the skin. Depending on the size of the squash you might not use all of it. I suggest that you use the upper portion of the squash or the area without the seeds. You will also want to cut that into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Then cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes. These smaller cubes will roast faster. It also keeps the squash small enough that it isn’t the only thing on your fork or spoon.
When caramelizing onions low and slow is the name of the game. I get the oil hot and then reduce the heat and add the onions. By cooking them this way you will allow the onions to sweat and release their juices. This helps prevent the onions from scorching like they would at higher temperatures. By covering the lid you give them a chance to cook and help trap heat even longer. On higher heat you have to keep moving the onions to prevent them from burning.
Mix it up
The cool thing about this recipe is that there are many ingredients that can be swapped to make it your own.
- For a vegan option swap out the butter for oil and the feta cheese for a vegan option.
- Replace the feta cheese with goat cheese or crumbled bleu cheese.
- Use sultanas, raisins or currants with or instead of the dried cranberries.
- Instead of roasted butternut squash you can use roasted beets, radishes, potatoes, or turnips.
- Use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
Farro Salad with Butternut Squash
- Foil lined sheet pan
- Mixing bowls
- Sauté pan
- Potato peeler
- Jar with a lid optional
- 4 cups butternut squash peeled, cubed ½ in size
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup red onion sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup feta cheese
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1½ cups brussels sprouts thinly sliced or shredded
- 1½ cups arugula
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tbsp sage roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp mustard
Roasting the butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF or gas mark 7.
- On a foil lined add the butternut squash and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes rotate the butternut squash to let all sides cook evenly.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
Cooking the Farro
- While the squash is roasting, rinse farro and bring a pot with 2 cups of water to a boil, add the farro and 1 tsp of salt, reduce heat to low and cover. Let the farro simmer for 20-30 minutes or until farro has expanded.
- Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside.
Caramelizing the onions
- In a sauté pan on medium high heat, heat the butter until it has melted. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Allow to cook stirring occasionally until the have released their liquid, about 20 min.
Blistering the tomatoes
- In a sauté pan, on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the cherry tomatoes. Sauté the tomatoes undisturbed for 2 minutes and then gently stir to rotate the sides that touch the bottom of the pan. Let cook undisturbed again for 2 minutes before gently stirring again. Repeat this process until most of the tomatoes have split skin. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil. When olive oil is fragrant add sage and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Turn heat to low heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool. In a bowl or jar whisk/mix the remaining ingredients
Assemble the Salad
- In a large bowl add the farro, brussels sprouts, and arugula. Drizzle in about 1/3 of the dressing and toss. This will make tossing the rest of the salad easier. Add the rest of the rest of the salad ingredients and drizzle the remaining dressing on top. Toss to evenly coat and mix.