For day 2 of my series “12 Days of Thanksgiving Recipes” we are making a butternut squash and farro salad! This salad is warm, cozy, healthy, and flavorful. It is easy to make but will really elevate your Thanksgiving meal!
I have been making this salad non-stop and it MUST be at your Thanksgiving table. Non-negotiable. Okay that was dramatic, but this salad is seriously good. It’s got kale, butternut squash, red onion, farro, cranberries, pecans, and a creamy maple balsamic vinaigrette. The butternut squash, red onion, and farro are cooked and then added to the kale while they’re still warm, so the kale softens and the whole salad is warm. If you’ve never had a warm salad, you’re missing out and need to try this asap. It is cozy and delicious.
what is in this butternut squash, kale, and farro salad?
- butternut squash
- red onion
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- maple syrup
- dijon mustard
- garlic salt
- salt and pepper
- parmesan, optional
These are all the ideal ingredients for the perfect cozy salad. And all should be easy to find at the grocery store! Butternut squash are now in season and can be found at any local store.
farro is the new quinoa
I’m calling it now, but farro is going to be the new popular grain. Quinoa is so 2018, and farro is here to take over as the superior grain (haha I actually still love quinoa, but I really love farro). Farro is protein and fiber-packed and is a great whole grain.
The only drawback to farro is that it isn’t gluten free. So, if you eat gluten free, use quinoa or brown rice instead! I would suggest brown rice, as it is heartier and more similar to farro, but either will work. I know I just said quinoa isn’t as cool as farro, but if you can’t eat gluten then quinoa is still really cool.
how to make this butternut squash, kale, and farro salad:
First up for this salad is roasting the butternut squash and red onion. They should both be cut into bite sized pieces, transferred to a baking sheet, and tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them with 15-20 minutes until they’re tender and starting to brown.
Next we need to get the farro cooking. The farro should be cooked according to the package instructions. Most farro takes about 20 minutes to cook, although Trader Joe’s sells a kind that only takes 10 minutes. So follow the package instructions and get it cooked!
While that is all cooking, mix the dressing together. The dressing is super easy — just add to a jar and shake. OR if you want to know my vinaigrette hack, use a milk frother to combine the dressing! It emulsifies the dressing incredibly and is the perfect way to get a really creamy vinaigrette.
Toss the kale with most of the vinaigrette, then pour on the warm butternut squash, red onion, and farro. Toss it all together and the kale will warm up and begin to soften. Add the cranberries and pecans and mix again. Then, right before serving, add a little parmesan on top! This is optional, but adds some great flavor. But if you want this salad to be vegan, just leave the parm off!
other recipes you will love:
butternut squash, kale, and farro salad
- 6 cups kale
- 3 cups butternut squash
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup farro
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup craisins
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese optional
maple balsamic dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- Preheat the oven to 425. Peel and chop butternut squash into bite sized pieces. Cut red onion into bite sized pieces as well. Transfer the squash and onion to a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.
- Cook the farro according to package instructions.
- To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jar or bowl. Whisk or shake until everything is well combined.
- Place the kale in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on the kale and mix until it's well combined. Add the butternut squash, red onion, and farro (while its still warm) and toss to combine. The kale will warm and soften slightly.
- Add pecans and craisins and toss again. Serve and top with parmesan (optional) and enjoy!