Butternut Squash, Cranberry, Farro Salad

I've talked to multiple clients who are intimidated by whole grains. Quinoa and rice? We seem to get that, but when you introduce kamut, amaranth, or farro, then I'm typically met with a blank stare. Think of it like this: whole grains are your blank canvas. You start with a whole grain base (most of which are interchangeable) and you build flavor from there.

Confidence with whole grains is important. Research shows that diets consisting of at least half of the grains as whole grains are shown to be protective against certain cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Also, whole grains are a good source of fiber which contributes to satiety and they're a great source of many antioxidants. 

I made a simple, back to basics recipe (#btobrecipes) using farro, an ancient wheat that's a good source of fiber and protein - both at about 8g per cup, cooked. Plus, the seasonal flavors of butternut squash and cranberries makes for an easy side dish for your Thanksgiving celebration.


1 medium butternut squash
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup dry farro plus 1 cup water for cooking
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
(optional: 1 tbsp pure maple syrup)

Cook farro according to package directions. (I used Bob's Red Mill) Typical cooking instructions for farro: Rinse 1 cup farro and add to a saucepan with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until cooked, about 30 minutes. 

Makes 4-6 servings


While farro is cooking, preheat oven to 375F. Wash and peel butternut squash. Tip: Be sure your vegetable peeler is sharp. The skin on butternut squash is thick and tough. Cut squash and remove seeds. Dice and toss with cranberries and olive oil. Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Squash should be soft enough to put a fork through, but not mushy. 

Drain excess water from farro and toss with squash mixture in a large bowl. Add thyme. Maple syrup is optional. This salad is best served warm or at room temperature.