Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Butternut Farro Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans

Well, the predictions were correct and we got a healthy dose of snow yesterday.  Welcome to Cleveland winters.  People think I'm crazy for this, but I actually enjoy the snow here.  At least any that falls up until January 1.  When we lived in Florida, it just didn't feel like the holidays until we flew up north. I usually save up my vacation so I can take a bunch of time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now if we could only find a way to fast forward January through March!

This is a BIG salad and will feed a lot of people.  Hint. Hint.  Maybe you should wow your family by showing up with this for the big feast at the end of this month.  It has all the fixings to compliment the typical Thanksgiving bird and sides.   

Here's your squash.  I'm going to show you how to perfectly chop this up.  I know what this looks like but let's keep our minds out of the gutter ;)  But while we're at it, always try to pick a squash with a "big shaft" and "small ball".  The ball end contains the seeds so you will yield more squash if you stick to that advice.

So much for keeping our minds out of the gutter...

Remove each end.  This will provide a stable surface to peel

Separate the "shaft" from the "ball"

Now you can easily peel it with a paring knife.  You can try using a vegetable peeler but the skin is pretty thick and I find the knife works best.

See?  It comes right off.

All peeled.  Next, slice the ball end in half.

Remove the seeds with a spoon

Now take it and slice it into "panels"

Finally, slice lengthwise and then crosswise.  Now you have a perfectly cubed butternut squash!



Time to cook the farro.



Slice the sprouts very thin

Caramelize the onions

Cook briefly to maintain crispness

Add to farro

The squash too

Dried cranberries

Toss to combine

Make the vinaigrette

And toss in with pecans

Farro Salad
1 butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups of farro
5 cups water
1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced very thin

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop squash evenly scatter over a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool.

Now you need to cook the farro.  Cook based on the directions on the package.  For me, I rinsed the farro, brought water and salt to a boil  and then added farro and cooked for 20 minutes.

Place farro in a large bowl.  Meanwhile, preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and then chopped onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes until softened and slightly caramelized.  Add Brussels sprouts, season with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes.  You want them to remain crisp.

To the farro, add squash, onion/sprout mixture, cranberries and pecans.  Toss to combine.  Top with Orange Sage Vinaigrette and toss again to distribute through salad.  

Orange Sage Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
zest from orange
juice from 1/2 an orange
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together everything except the oil.  Once combined, slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk until mixture emulsifies.  Pour over farro salad.


  1. Haha, I said the exact same thing on my blog today .... can't we just skip to spring come January 1?! The salad looks delish!!

    1. So funny! Seriously though... I absolutely LOVE this time of the year with the anticipation of the holidays. After they've passed, I'm over it!


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