The weekend has come and gone again, where does the time go??
We spent this past Saturday evening out in Woodbury celebrating my niece’s 8th birthday party. Hard to believe she’s getting so big, so fast! With Halloween just around the corner, my niece requested a bonfire and costume party (I’m afraid I was lame and didn’t dress up). My sister, with help from her husband and in-laws, did a wonderful job setting up the fire pit for roasting hot dogs and s’mores, as well as creating a table loaded with festive treats decorated as ghosts, goblins, eyeballs and more. The kids had a blast. It’s a blessing to live close and share in those moments, I can still remember the day she was born and holding her in my arms.
Aside from the bonfire, the rest of my weekend was spent baking several healthy sweets that I plan to share with you soon! I realized the other day that I have very few desserts posted, which is odd considering I have a huge sweet tooth. I typically post Mondays and Fridays, but being that this week is Halloween, I have a wonderful Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (no flour, grains or refined sugar!) that I plan to post on Thursday.
Anyways, on to today’s post, this Roasted Acorn Squash and Farro Salad is absolutely wonderful and feels so appropriate with fall settling in. I know I’ve said it a million times before but I truly love this time of year. I love picking up my CSA and seeing it loaded with butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. I love shopping at Trader Joe’s and browsing the bins of pumpkins lining the entrance and the barrels of gourds and racks of mums by the check out line. I don’t even mind the chill in the air and the need for a heavier coat. This time of year somehow begins to feel a bit cozier and with school back in session and summer vacations a recent memory, it seems like everyone slows down a bit and takes the time to smile at others. Or maybe my love for fall just makes me look at everything through rose-colored glasses, either way, it’s nice.
So with acorn squash in season and frequently in my CSA, I’ve fixed it a number of different ways. I love this one because it comes together so easily. This type of dish is a very typical one for me to fix throughout the week. Something nutritious, warm and quick to make.
Farro is new to me. Several of my favorite food blogs have used it recently, causing me to look further into it. Trader Joe’s had a small bag for under $2 so I picked it up. At the time, I had no idea how I wanted to use it, but it seemed to fit well with this salad and added a bit of protein and fiber.
Farro is an heirloom grain related to wheat. The grain remains whole and intact, therefore minimally processed. When cooked, it is dense and chewy, similar to wheat berries.
For a bit more sustenance, I added a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich for Josh.
The pumpkin seeds added the perfect crunch to the salad.
BENEFITS OF ACORN SQUASH:
- Rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoid antioxidants (alpha-carotene and beta-carotene).
- Good source of Vitamins B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, folate, Vitamin C and omega-3.
- Recent studies have shown that winter squash aids as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory.
- Due to it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, it has shown potential to prevent prostate, colon, breast and lung cancer as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
BENEFITS OF FARRO:
- Good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and other essential minerals.
- As a whole grain, farro offers superior nutrition and disease protection. It can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as help control weight.
- Farro has twice the fiber and protein than modern wheat.
- Cyanogenic glucosides, a carbohydrate found in farro, has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels.
- While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it easier to digest.
The best thing about this salad is it’s versatility. I used the acorn squash for this one, but I’ve also used delicata squash and sweet potatoes, both wonderful. If you don’t have pumpkin seeds, any nut or seed would pair well, as would feta, gorgonzola, or goat’s cheese in place of the parmesan. Just use whatever you have on hand!
I hope you’ll give it a try, and I’d love to hear from you!
- 1 Acorn squash
- coconut oil nonstick spray
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar + small drizzle for farro
- ½ cup farro
- ¼ cup chickpeas
- 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
- 4-5 cups organic greens (spinach, romaine, arugula)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut acorn squash (leave skin) in half, then quarters. Slice into ½” thick slices, lay out on pan and spray with nonstick coconut oil spray.
- Sprinkle minced garlic over sliced acorn squash and put pan in oven, cook for 15 minutes. Remove, flip squash and cook additional 10 minutes.
- While Squash is cooking, put farro in small pot, add water, bring to boil and boil 10-12 minutes then drain water. Add small drizzle of Balsamic vinegar to cooked farro for additional flavor.
- Prep plates with organic greens, add farro, chickpeas, parmesan, pumpkin seeds and dressing, then top with roasted acorn squash. Eat!
Nutrition benefits taken from WHFoods.com and LIVESTRONG.com.