Farro has made the rounds in the farm kitchen this year! In the beginning of the season we paired it with fennel for a light and refreshing salad, it made a great backdrop for hakurei turnips with greens, and now it’s perfect with lightly sweetened squash and tangy goat cheese. Serve this warm or chilled on a bed of greens, like mustard or lettuce. Look for farro or whole spelt, I got this in the bulk department of our local co-op. You can also sub pearled barley, short grain brown rice, or any gluten-free grain. Roast the squash while the farro is cooking and there isn’t much work involved in this salad.
I generally cook farro with a 4:1 water to grain ratio. It can take a long time to cook, so get the grains started and then the squash. I like the scalloped half moons of squash tossed with everything, but if you prefer cut the squash into smaller shapes. The skin is edible, and you hardly notice it when thinly sliced. Toss with the maple syrup and olive oil then bake for about 20 minutes, until soft but not falling apart.
When the farro is tender, drain and toss with the lemon and oil. At this point you can let it and the squash cool a bit before adding the cheese and nuts. If you add the cheese when the grains are very warm, it will melt which is fine if you don’t mind. You can also use a firmer cheese like feta if you want to toss the whole thing together while the grains are very warm. You can also add chopped and washed greens like mustard or arugula to the warm grain. They’ll wilt perfectly.
Toss everything together and season with a generous pinch of sea salt.
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash Farro Salad
1 medium acorn squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 cups farro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 oz crumbled goat cheese or feta
sea salt and pepper
Bring 8 cups of water, the farro, and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until farro is tender about 45 – 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F While the farro is cooking, slice the squash into thin half circles. Toss with the olive oil and maple syrup and roast on a baking sheet until soft 20 – 30 minutes.
Drain the farro, and toss with the juice from one lemon and 1/4 cup olive oil. Let the farro and squash cool slightly. Add the walnuts and squash to the farro, then gently stir in the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.