Roasted Squash Farro Salad
This beautiful roasted squash farro salad is perfect for the Fall and Winter when apples and squash are in season. Enjoy this stunning dish as a healthy main or serve as a vegan side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
What is Farro?
Farro is an ancient whole grain wheat with a nutty, chewy texture when cooked. It’s texture is somewhat similar to barley when cooked and is prepared just like rice or any other whole grain.
You can use farro anywhere you would rice or quinoa and it works well in a variety of meals like soups, salads or even breakfast porridge.
Read more about the health benefits of farro in my guide to whole grains.
Farro Salad Ingredients
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make this veagn farro salad:
- Farro. Farro’s nutty flavour and chewy texture makes it perfect for salads, however, you can use barley, brown rice, freekeh or quinoa in its place.
- Squash. I used acorn squash but kabocha squash or butternut squash would also work. As for the cooking method, I roasted it in the oven but other methods, such as an Instant Pot could be used.
- Pomegranate. Pomegranate adds a sweet, tangy flavour and crunchy texture to the salad. Whole pomegranates are a bit of a pain to prepare and always a little messy, so I actually used thawed frozen pomegranate arils. If you prefer, you can use dried cranberries for a similar flavour.
- Apple. Sweet, crunchy apple really adds to the salad. You can use any variety of apple you like but a crunchy one works best.
- Tahini dressing. The tahini dressing is easy to make in minutes. All you need is tahini, lemon, garlic powder and sea salt.
Recipe Substitutions and Additions
Here are some ways to customize this salad:
- Add tofu feta
- Use pecans, walnuts, slivered almonds in place of pumpkin seeds
- Try dried cranberries instead of pomegranate
- Swap the tahini dressing for dijon dressing or balsamic vinaigrette
How to Cook Farro for Salad
The farro for this salad can be cooked stovetop or in an Instant Pot. I used my Instant Pot because it’s so easy to set it and forget it.
You’ll need two parts water to one part farro. If you cook 1 cup of dried farro it will yield just over 2 cups. I used about 1/4 cup farro per salad but you can use up to 1/2 cup so I’d recommend just making 1 cup of uncooked farro. You can use any extra in my pumpkin breakfast farro or mediterranean farro salad.
To make farro stovetop: bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of farro, cover, reduce to a light simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until tender.
To make farro in an Instant Pot: add 1 cup farro and 2 cups water to an Instant Pot, cook for 15 minutes then let the pressure release naturally all the way.
Alternative Methods: You can also use the pasta method for cooking farro, or pre-soak it to reduce the cooking time. The farro can also be toasted before cooking to bring out its nutty flavour, find instructions for toasting farro here.
How to Make Roasted Squash
Here’s how I prepared the roasted squash for this salad:
- Cut an acorn squash in half from the stem to the bottom and scoop out the seeds.
- Slice each half into wedges approximately 1.5 inches thick.
- Line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper or give it a little spritz of non-stick cooking spray. This isn’t totally necessary if you have a good roasting pan as acorn squash doesn’t really stick to the pan.
- Place the wedges on the pan and roast for about 30 minutes. I like to give them a little sprinkle of salt and pepper before roasting. The squash is ready when you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork but it’s still somewhat firm.
- Pull it out of the oven and let cool until you can handle the wedges. Once it cools down, you should be able to easily peel the skin away from the flesh. Chop up the wedges to use in the salad.
You can also use butternut squash in this recipe. Butternut squash can be peeled and cubed before roasting but I still peel it after since I just find it easier.
Farro Salad Recipe
This colorful farro salad is full of flavour, texture and nutrition. It’s delicious anytime of year but is especially perfect for Fall and Winter when squash, pomegranate and apples are in season.
This salad doesn’t just look good, it’s good for you too!
- it can be made gluten-free by swapping the farro for a gluten-free whole grain
- is oil-free, even the tahini dressing
- has no added sugar-free and is naturally low in sugar
- can be made nut-free by using pumpkin seeds as a topping
- is antioxidant-rich thanks to healthy ingredients like greens, pomegranate, squash and apple
How to Serve this Salad
This salad will serve 4 as a main dish or 6-8 as a side dish. It’s also a great addition to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
The farro, squash and dressing can be prepped in advance for quick assembly. They will all keep up to 4 days in the fridge, store separately in sealed containers.
More Vegan Salad Recipes
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Have you made this recipe?
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For the Salad
- 1 acorn squash, seeds removed and sliced into wedges
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 1 cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries
- 2 medium-sized apples, diced or sliced into very thin wedges
- mixed salad greens, a few handfuls per salad
- optional: pecans, walnuts or pumpkin seeds for topping
For the Tahini Dressing
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice each half into 1-2 inch thick wedges. Place the wedges on a baking tray (use a bit of cooking spray or a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to prevent sticking). Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
- Roast the squash for 25-30 minutes until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Flipping once half-way through cooking. Once cooked, let sit on the pan until cool enough to handle at which point, peel the skin away from the flesh and discard. Chop each wedge into chunks and set aside.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the farro according to package directions. If you bought bulk farro, see post above for cooking instructions.
- To make the tahini dressing, whisk the ingredients together in a jar or dish until smooth and creamy. Adding more water slowly, if needed, to adjust the consistency.
- To assemble the salad, prepare serving dishes and start by adding a couple big handfuls of mixed greens to each plate or bowl. Top each serving with equal amounts of the squash, cooked farro, pomegranate and sliced apple.
- Drizzle each salad with desired amount of dressing and top with a sprinkle of pecans, walnuts or pumpkin seeds, if using.
- Serve right away. If there are leftovers, store the dressing separately so the salad doesn’t get soggy or ideally, store all ingredients separately and assemble later as needed.
The farro, squash and tahini dressing for this salad can be made up to 3 days in advance. The tahini dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance.
Keywords: farro salad, squash, thanksgiving, holiday, healthy, plant-based