This recipe comes to us from Sr. Spice Associate Lynne Char Bennett, who created this veggie-forward side dish to spice up your holiday menus!
Farro, a type of wheat, is my go-to grain when I’m casting about for a hearty side dish, an add-in to soups or stews or, with the addition of some protein, a full meal. I relish farro’s slight chewiness, which complements both soft and crunchy partners, and its more neutral flavor showcases its adjuncts. For an easy do-ahead, double or even triple the amount of farro you need – the leftovers freeze well. If prepping a whole butternut squash, you can make other dishes like butternut squash soup from the remaining amount.
This recipe combines fall flavors with Market Harvest Spice, which is a little smoky from alderwood smoked sea salt, savory from ajwain and nigella and bright from a smidge of Aleppo and urfa chiles. One thing it doesn’t have is alliums, so those who have allium allergies can forego the onion in this recipe and still enjoy it. For the gluten sensitive, feel free to try a wild rice blend instead, and, unless you are trying to cut down on salt, season the farro and squash with salt before cooking.
All the components can be made ahead and kept separate until ready to serve. You can offer this side warm or at room temperature, just be sure not to add the nuts until just before serving to preserve their texture. Other nuts/seeds such as roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) will also work well, adjust the amount accordingly.
3/4 cup pearled farro (about 5 ounces) Kosher salt (optional) 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil, divided 1/2 medium yellow or white onion, small dice (about 1/2 cup) Generous 1/4 cup (1-1/2 to 2 ounces) pecan pieces 8 ounces (about 2 cups) cubed butternut squash (1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes) 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or to taste 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste 1 tablespoon Market Harvest Spice, or to taste Orange segments, halved or canned mandarin oranges (optional) Parsley, chopped or sprigs (optional)
Farro: Rinse farro and add to 4 cups boiling water, optionally salted. Cook, stirring occasionally, until farro is still slightly al dente, 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside. You will have about 2 cups. If making ahead, add about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon olive oil after the farro is drained to keep the grains from clumping together.
Onions: While the farro is cooking, sauté onions in 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes; set aside
Pecans: With the oven rack at the bottom position, preheat to 350°. Spread pecan pieces on a sheet pan and toast until starting to brown (you can start to smell them toasting), about 6 minutes. Stir them about halfway through. Remove pecan pieces to a dish and set aside to cool and carefully wipe off the still-hot sheet pan.
Squash: Increase the oven to 475°. Toss the squash pieces with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon oil plus optional salt and place on sheet pan, leaving room between the pieces. Roast until the tip of a paring knife pierces a piece with little resistance, about 11 to 13 minutes; turn them over halfway through roasting. A bit of browning will add flavor.
Assembly: In a medium bowl, gently combine farro, onions and squash then add vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and Market Harvest Spice. Just before serving, add in pecans with the citrus and/or parsley garnish, if using.
Comments will be approved before showing up.