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.

Cranberry, Blueberry Granola with Coconut

In recognition of this little event called Election Day, I've created a red, white, and blue granola featuring cranberries, coconut, and blueberries. This is the order of your day - vote first, make this granola second. Got it? 

Cranberries are bitter, so they're usually prepared with loads of added sugar (cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table, for example). In an effort to limit added sugar, I've combined cranberries with a sweeter blueberry and added banana over sugar for a lightly sweet granola which makes for a great topping to smoothies or yogurt.

Cranberries are in season, so purchasing fresh this time of year makes sense. However, I used frozen wild blueberries since berry season is long gone and frozen berries are picked at their peak of freshness before freezing which preserves the nutrients.  

Cranberries and blueberries are both rich in antioxidants, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanin, the phytochemical that gives cranberries and blueberries their bright color, has been linked to cardiovascular protection and also has potential anti-carcinogenic properties. Plus, they taste great, so eat up! 


1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries)
3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 ripe banana
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor, blend banana, cranberries, and blueberries. Add coconut and vanilla and pulse until combined. Remove blade and add oats. Stir with a spoon. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes. Important: stir mixture every 10 minutes to prevent from burning.