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Warm Salad of Farro, Brussels Sprouts & Delicata Squash with Pomegranate & Toasted Almonds

A meatless main dish festive enough for Thanksgiving, but simple enough as everyday side dish.

Maple-Bacon Crusted Chicken

Our most ancient grain, farro, is so hearty and healthy. It is nutty and chewy, similar to barley but also a but like rice. This salad is a vegetarian wonder, but it is also delicious with some sausage added to make it a protein-packed meal all its own. Shaved Brussels sprouts are sautéed in olive oil, and then tossed into the cooked farro along with some toasted almonds, roasted Delicata squash rings, and pomegranate arils. Oh, how I love it!

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; rimmed sheet pan; medium saucepan with tight fitting lid; colander or strainer; measuring spoons; dry measuring cups; mixing bowls; spatula; sauté pan or wok; wooden spoon


1 Delicata squash, cut into rings, seeds removed 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup whole farro

½ cup slivered almonds 2 tablespoons butter 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 pint Brussels sprouts, shaved ½ cup pomegranate arils kosher salt cranberry balsamic vinegar (optional)

Warm Farro Salad
The farro is an ideal base for you to make this salad your own. Pistachios would be a perfect alternative to almonds, as would cranberries to the pomegranate arils.

1. First prepare the squash. Preheat the oven to 400F. Drizzle a rimmed sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Place the squash rings on the sheet pan and drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender.

The skin of the Delicata squash is thin and delicious, and therefore should be eaten. But if the idea of this squash intimidates you, use cubed butternut squash instead. It's about technique, not torture!

2. Meanwhile, cook the farro. Place 1 cup farro in a saucepan with 3 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then immediately cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Once the squash is done and while the farro cooks, toast the almonds. Add the butter to a sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once melted and foaming, add the minced garlic and almonds, stirring constantly until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown. Remove the nuts from the pan and set aside.

4. Now cook the Brussels sprouts in the same pan as the nuts. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Once hot, add the shaved Brussels sprouts and sweat until softened and bright green. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside, leaving the Brussels sprouts in the pan.

5. After the 30 minutes are up, drain the farro in a colander and gently shake to rid of any excess water. Add the cooked farro to the pan with the Brussels sprouts and stir well to incorporate. Sprinkle generously with salt and then fold in the nuts, then carefully add the squash rings. Sprinkle with the pomegranate arils, and drizzle with some cranberry balsamic vinegar, if using.

6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

ILOC tip: make this dish ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days, in which case do not add the pomegranate or optional vinegar until service.

Makes 6-8 side dish servings.

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