My husband loves rice, in all its starchy white goodness, hot with butter, salt and pepper. Me? Not so much. So I’m always looking for good side dishes and salads that are just a tad bit more interesting. Sorry, Honey.
This one is a new favorite. I ADORE this concoction. Smitten Kitchen has done it again. The combination is just perfect. I ate it while the squash was still just a bit warm and it was grand. It has a tendency to dry out a bit, so when I ate it fresh from the fridge the next day I drizzled a little olive oil on top. I have written up the recipe as I prepared it. Deb at Smitten Kitchen actually used Ricotta Salata and I think she made a better choice. The feta was a little bit too tangy, or briny, or something. I would have preferred something salty and creamy. (Aside: I can’t type “Ricotta Salata” without thinking of Zenyatta Mondatta. De-do-do-do, de da da da is all I want to say to you.) The lightly pickled onions absolutely take the salad to that magical place, so don’t skip them.
Make this. It is a fantastic side dish that is rice free. It is fall loveliness in a bowl, and is comforting, but relatively nutritious at the same time. WIN!
Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Other Yummy Things (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
- 5-6 T. olive oil
- 1 C. uncooked farro, prepared according to the directions on the package (they vary)
- 1/3 C. toasted pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds, the salted ones)
- 3 ounces of feta (or even better, Ricotta Salata, crumbled)
- 1 T. sherry vinegar
- 1 T. water
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. sugar
- 1/2 small red onion, small dice
- Salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash with 2 T. of the olive oil and then place in one layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast about 35 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. It’s a good idea to turn the squash over after about 20 minutes of cooking time.
While the squash is roasting, cook the farro according to the directions on the package. Drain.
In a small glass or bowl, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar and stir to dissolve the solids. Dice the onion and add to the liquid. Cover and put this in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once the squash and farro are cooked, let them cool slightly then place in a large bowl with the pepitas and cheese. Pour the vinegar/onion mixture in (all of it!), add 3 T. of olive oil (if you want to – I didn’t add any olive oil until the next day) and mix. Enjoy!