Welcome to another work week, friends! I can’t believe we’re less than three weeks away from Thanksgiving and all the festivities that come after that! I don’t think I’ve fully come to terms that it’s November yet either. Is it okay that I still keep thinking it’s September?
I think every weekend from now until, uhhh…February (?!) is filled up with something on my calendar. So it was nice this weekend to just take it easy — no real plans whatsoever.
Philip and I wandered through a bookstore in downtown Madison, picked up Mad Libs and played a few rounds (for some reason, this game was really fun and hilarious when I was ten. I think we gave half-hearted chuckles and moved on…), played Rummikub in front of our fireplace (a family favorite game on both sides of our families and what we bonded over from the very beginning of our relationship), and watched
a few several episodes of Downtown Abbey to cap off our evenings. I know, we’re behind the times with the TV show selection. Besides the fact that I can only catch 75% of what they’re saying and I had to keep asking Philip for a synopsis after almost every episode during the first season, I’m totally hooked.
A completely unproductive weekend, but just what I needed. This lack of productivity may be partly because I was forced out of our kitchen for the weekend. What may have consumed my time normally — like baking or cooking — was not an option due to a slight demo project currently going on. Hopefully by next week my kitchen will be up and open for business again (pictures included)!
In the meantime, I’m sharing my Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Farro Salad paired with grilled salmon that we had awhile back when we had some unseasonably warm weather in our area. This salad would also be perfect with baked chicken or as a side dish with your Thanksgiving meal! Serve it warm or cold, this will be one of your most versatile dishes. The best part (besides its delicious flavors) is the easy prep. Because it can be served cold, you can make it ahead of time — especially nice if you’re serving it for Turkey Day.
Another appealing part of this dish is that it’s so easy to make — another reason to make it for Thanksgiving. The roasted squash is hands off and comes out of the oven caramelized and perfectly sweet to pair with the tang of the feta and balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette. The other ingredients are tossed together while everything is still warm. The dried cranberries, walnuts, kale, and maple syrup add all the flavors of fall into this dish and create a flavor profile that is sweet, nutty, and savory all at once.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the farro in this salad. While you could use couscous or rice in this dish, the farro adds an unmistakable texture and nuttiness to the salad. Personally, farro has become one of my favorite grains and I use it whenever I can.
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Farro Salad is brimming with everything good for you — whole grains, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and rich color. This is a side dish you can feel good about going back for seconds for on Thanksgiving…or tonight. It’s that versatile.
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Farro Salad
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded & diced into 1/2″ cubes (can also buy pre-diced frozen butternut squash in the freezer section to save time)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups cooked farro (follow package directions for cooking)
- 3 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for garnishing
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 425°. Toss butternut squash with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and pepper. Spread on a foil-lined, non-stick sprayed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Toss, then roast for 10-15 more minutes, or until squash is golden brown.
- Combine hot, roasted squash with remaining ingredients, season with alt & pepper, if needed, top with more feta and serve. Note: This is just as tasty cold as it is warm — serve however you like!
Adapted from: Iowa Girl Eats