Winter Squash and Farro Salad

Ever since being back in California, I have been missing some of my favorite Dallas restaurants and coffee shops. Being from a “small” town – or at least somewhere that feels like a small town – there are fewer options for dining out and so I usually take the opportunity to cook at home more often. Especially in the current climate, I have ample time to bring my favorite restaurant dishes home by trying my hand at the recipes I adore. Among them, one of my favorite meals is actually the pesto farro salad from Foxtrot Market. This Chicago-based coffee shop and market has made its way to Dallas and it is one of my absolute favorite spots to go for a quiet, coffeehouse vibe. But seriously y’all, their salad is GOOD. Loaded with farro, asparagus, summer squash, Marcona almonds, golden raisins, and pesto it is both hearty and delicious.

Although I love the original salad, I wanted to put a winter twist on this salad and make it slightly lighter with a vinaigrette rather than a pesto. And I have to say that I am head over heels in love with this recipe! With roasted butternut squash, asparagus, tangy goat cheese, and a shallot vinaigrette, it is simply scrumptious.

What’s in this Salad:

  • Farro: I don’t often add grains to salads because I don’t always think a salad needs a grain to stand on its own, but nutrient-rich farro transforms this salad into a texturally-diverse and satisfying entree. Packed full of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and fiber, farro elevates this salad with its nutritious superpowers. Cooked al dente, farro maintains a toothsomeness that gives this salad the right amount of “oomph”.
  • Butternut Squash: Loved by some, hated by others, butternut squash is not always the most-loved child in the vegetable community, but it deserves some recognition. Rich in texture (as well as vitamins A, B, C, and E) with a slightly sweet flavor, I have had a lifelong adoration for this humble squash, and especially love it in this dish.
  • Asparagus: Asparagus and farro are like peanut butter and jelly – they are simply a match made in heaven! Vibrant and roasted until slightly crispy, asparagus is a wonderful pairing with squash and farro. Not to mention it is rich in fiber, folates, and vitamin A!
  • Arugula: To me, arugula was a no-brainer for this recipe because it is light and peppery which marries well with the roasted veggies and hearty farro in this salad. However, shredded kale would also work well in this salad too!
  • Goat Cheese: Just the decadence this salad needs, fromage de chรจvre est dรฉlicieux! I recommend buying a goat cheese log as opposed to crumbled goat cheese because the texture is creamier and its flavor is both brighter and tangier.
  • Marcona Almonds: Marcona almonds are not only one of my favorite additions to top my salads with, but they are one of my favorite snacks and a great accouterment to any charcuterie board. For this salad, I use unseasoned Marcona almonds, which deliver the perfect amount of crunch to this dish and add some healthy fats to make it a balanced meal.
Winter Squash and Farro Salad

Winter Squash and Farro Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 2 cups diced Butternut squash
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
  • 1/4 cup Golden raisins
  • 4 oz. goat cheese to crumble over the top

Shallot Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 (2 tsp minced) shallot
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves
  • pinch of salt to taste

Instructions

  1. First, cook 1 cup of farro according to package instructions, draining it and setting it aside in a bowl to cool once fully cooked.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Trim the ends off of the asparagus and lay both the cubed squash and asparagus in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes until softened and beginning to brown.
  3. As the vegetables are roasting in the oven, prepare the dressing by blending the shallot, olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, honey, basil, and salt together to create the vinaigrette.
  4. Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before combining it with the farro and arugula in a large bowl. Toss the salad in the dressing and portion 4 servings onto salad plates.
  5. Top each salad with golden raisins, Marcona Almonds, and goat cheese. Bon appetit!

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