At first glance, it looks like this might be one of those lonely, ho-hum dishes for the vegan at the dinner party. On the contrary. This little number has so many layers of complimentary flavors, you may find your dinner companions reaching for seconds to try and figure them all out. Or is that just something food geeks do? Rhetorical question, by the way. In any case, this makes for a lovely side dish but also easily stands on its own. I had a version of this at The Kitchen in Boulder and slightly adapted the recipe to my taste. In their delicious version, they added chickpeas which are very nice too.
For those of you unfamiliar with farro, it is an ancient grain, most popular in Italian cuisine, with a firm, chewy bite, similar to wheatberries or barley. Packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants, it's a healthy and interesting addition to your grain repertoire.
farro and roasted butternut squash
4 c cooked whole grain farro
4 c butternut squash, cut into 1" cubes
2 T maple syrup
3-4 T olive oil
2 bird chilies, diced (or less)
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T toasted and ground cumin seeds (or less-I happen to love cumin)
1/2 c cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 c Greek-style yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Coat with the maple syrup and 2 T or so of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, checking and stirring occasionally.
In a large saute pan, cook the onions, chili and garlic in some olive oil for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the squash, farro, cumin, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. You can make it ahead to this point.
When you are ready, either gently reheat or serve it at room temperature, tossing in the cilantro at the last minute. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil, if you'd like.
Mix together the remaining lemon juice with the yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Serve along side.