Today’s Autumn Farro Salad is the best thing you could hope for after being told you’re having salad for dinner. In other words, this salad is not disappointing. On the contrary, this salad’s kind of exciting and it kicks every inch of your boring garden salad’s ass. Yeah, I said it. But how do I know the Autumn Farro Salad is superior? Well, I’m not what you would call a “salad lover” and I wanted seconds of this salad. Do you know how often that happens to be me? This side of never!
Most of the time I have to trick myself into eating salad by loading them up with flashier ingredients like various cheeses, nuts and, of course, carbs. You know those people who refuse to call anything without a slab of meat a meal? This is how I feel about carbs. I have absolutely no hang-ups about calling even the greenest, leafiest salad “dinner” if it has carbs. If it doesn’t, the salad is merely a side salad. Even my beloved caprese in its pure unadulterated form is a starter at best. But turn that same caprese into a panzanella and it’s at least lunch. But there’s simply no disputing that this Autumn Farro Salad is full on dinner.
At this point you might be thinking “Okay, I get it! You’re really into this salad, but what exactly is so great about it?”. Well, I’m happy to report the Autumn Farro Salad comes fully equipped with buttery pecans, sharp blue cheese, sweet and spicy acorn squash wedges and a zippy sherry vinaigrette. All of these components are so good you won’t even notice the good-for-you greens. But if you happen to, it’s all good because it’s just arugula, one of the better leafy greens in my opinion. Aurgula is so peppery and so much more tender than kale for example. Raw kale and I are not always friends.
Another reason to make this Autumn Farro Salad is, well, the farro. I remember when farro became trendy, because apparently ancient grains can do that. But despite the numerous health blogs and lifestyle television segments extolling its virtues, I didn’t latch onto the farro craze. Perhaps I was being defiant. Perhaps I was afraid having only just managed to cook brown rice properly. But for whatever reason the first time I engaged with farro was earlier this year. My dear friend Molly made me this out-of-this-world farro salad piled high with tomatoes and parmesan curls. I was completely transfixed by these fluffy, slightly chewy grains and their ability to soak up vinegary sauces. Thus, I was seized by my own personal farro frenzy and I’m here with this salad today because of it.
Make this Autumn Farro Salad if you’ve never had farro before. Heck, make this salad if you think farro is old hat (farro really did figure prominently in the Mediterranean diet long before Whole Foods took an interest). You won’t regret it! And even if you’re so-so about the farro, the blue cheese, pecans, acorn squash, and yes, even the arugula will be there to catch you.
- 1 cup farro
- 3 cups water
- 1 acorn squash, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup whole pecans
- 1 cup arugula
- Good sized chunk of blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
- 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the farro and toast until it begins to crackle. Add the water and bring to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and leave to cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until the farro is tender with a slight chew. Don't be concerned if there is excess water in the pot. Simply drain the cooked farro and set aside.
- While the farro is cooking, place squash wedges, olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat.
- Pour the dressed squash onto a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast the squash for 15 minutes turning once.
- Place all dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- To assemble the salad place farro, pecans, arugula, and fresh tarragon in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the farro mixture and toss to coat.
- Divide the dressed farro mixture amongst two to four bowls and top with acorn squash wedges and blue cheese chunks.
- Serve immediately.