Dec 01 2011

Weekday Lunch: Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Squash

I hesitated to pick this recipe initially. It seemed healthy, but in a completely predictable way. Farro and roasted vegetables sounds like something I should eat, but don't necessarily crave.

I couldn't have missed the mark more! After a few bites, we quickly christened this dish "healthy fried rice". It's obviously neither made with rice nor is it fried, but my taste buds interpreted the flavors in that exact way.

Instead of rice, this dish is made with farro, a grain that's a member of the wheat family. If cooked properly, farro should taste both nutty and chewy. And instead of frying them, the squash and mushrooms are roasted with a unique medley of oil, sherry vinegar, and sage. After the vegetables are roasted and combined with the farro, you toss in a lemony, slightly sharp vinaigrette. When the flavors finished merging, I found myself eating the healthiest, non-fried, non-rice version of fried rice I've ever had!

Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Butternut Squash

Recipe Source: Bi Rite Market's Eat Good Food


1 1/2 cups farro (determine if your farro is true farro or semi-perlato farro. See this link to determine cooking time).

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered

4 chopped sage leaves

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

5 ribs of celery, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons minced shallots



1) Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the farro and cook until tender (anywhere from 25-45 minutes; check to see what kind of farro you have!). Drain and then spread the farro on a baking sheet to let cool to room temperature.

2) Preheat the oven 400.

3) Mound the butternut squash on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the squash evenly and spread into a single layer.

4) Repeat with the mushrooms on another baking sheet, adding 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, sage, and sherry vinegar.

5) Roast the vegetables until tender and the mushrooms start releasing juices, 20-25 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

6) To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, shallots, and salt.

7) Combine the farro, squash, mushrooms and juices, celery, scallions, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss until just combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Enjoy!