This Farro Salad is perfect for fall! It's an easy meatless meal that can easily be made ahead of time, and it's filled with butternut squash, spinach and goat cheese.
Easy meatless meals are my favorite, and this farro salad is no exception. It's an easy make-ahead meal that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner (or both!).
It kind of sort of reminds me of my harvest bowl recipe, because it's filled with fall-flavors like cinnamon, goat cheese and squash (the best!).
What is farro?
Farro is a high-protein, high fiber whole grain that has a slightly nutty flavor to it and is somewhat comparable to barley. It's chewier in texture and is cooked by boiling it with water, similar to rice. It can easily be enjoyed on its own, or in salads or soups.
If you're looking for more inspiration, don't overlook my farro chili or these roasted carrots with farro.
This recipe is incredibly versatile, and there are several substitutions that can be made if needed.
Farro - No real substitution -- this is called farro salad after all
Butternut squash - Or sweet potato
Walnuts - Can sub for almonds or pecans if you prefer
Goat cheese - Gorgonzola or feta cheese will work too
Spinach - Or kale (preferably lacinato)
Dates - Can omit or use raisins or dried cranberries instead
Step 1: Cook the farro. You'll want to start by cooking the farro over the stovetop the same way you'd cook rice. Please note that this step can easily be done ahead of time to make this recipe even quicker! Simply follow the instructions on the package for exact cook times.
Step 2: Sauté the squash. Heat oil in a large skillet, then cook the squash until it can easily be pierced with a fork, approximately 5-8 minutes. While the squash is cooking, chop the walnuts and dates.
Step 3: Combine. The final step is to mix everything together in a bowl. Start with the farro, then add the cooked butternut squash and spinach, then top it off with the walnuts, dates and goat cheese. Last, drizzle it with the maple syrup/balsamic "dressing".
Tips and tricks
- This recipe is very easy to meal prep: simply cook the farro and butternut squash ahead of time (separately), then store them in a container in the refrigerator and eat throughout the week.
- If you're not a fan of the maple/balsamic combination, you could try maple tahini instead, like I used in my autumn harvest bowl.
- You don't have to cook the squash over the stove; if you prefer, you can roast it in the oven.
- Buying pre-cubed butternut squash will make your life a lot easier! It can be found at most grocery stores in the produce section where the pre-packaged vegetables are located.
Can this be made vegan?
Yes! Simply omit the cheese, or use your favorite vegan cheese in place of the goat cheese.
More vegetarian meals
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Butternut Squash Farro Salad
- 2 cups cooked farro
- 2 cups butternut squash chopped
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups spinach
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 5 dates pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup goat cheese
for the dressing:
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- If you haven't already, cook the farro in a saucepan according to package instructions.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the butternut squash and cinnamon and cook on medium heat until squash is soft. Then, add the spinach and sauté for 1 minute.
- Pour farro into 2 bowls, then top it off with the butternut squash and spinach. Last, add the walnuts, dates and goat cheese.
- For the dressing: whisk syrup and balsamic together, then drizzle over top of the bowls. Enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in October 2016. It was updated with new text and photos in November 2020.
My boyfriend and I make this all the time now 🙂 super easy and delicious
Thanks for the comment, Sarah -- I'm glad you both enjoy the salad!
Kim | Unrefined RD says
This looks divine, Erin! I can't wait to try this one 🙂
Ellie | Hungry by Nature says
I feel like farro is such an underused grain - I love how chewy it is! And this salad looks like the perfect fall lunch!
I can never decide how I feel about farro - but I love everything else about this dish so it might be worth giving it another shot 🙂 Thanks!
Gisele Douville says
I'm French speaking from Montreal, Canada, vegetarian (trying to go vegan), and I love your recipes. So good and quick to cook (just like you, don't like to spend lots of time cooking). I guess farro is a cereal. Never heard of it! Didn't find in the dictionary neither! To me, it looks like barley. Could it be replaced with another kind of cereal??? Or something else?
Georgie @ Healthy Pears says
So much yum here!! Never cooked with farro before - will have to give it a try! Does it have a super earth flavour to it? like buckwheat?
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health says
Traffic in the Bay Area is the same way. 5am on a Saturday morning is like a dream. It's just waking up that early that sucks. I have to give you major props for that!
I'm definitely not squashed out yet and this salad is calling my name. I love the sound of the squash with the goat cheese and balsamic vinegar...YUM.
The wake up is always tough but a little coffee and I'm good to go.
Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food says
Oh yum! This looks heavenly. I completely forgot to add squash to my grocery list and I'm so mad now. I want this for lunch today.
Driving on off hours is the absolute best! I spend quite a bit of my time sitting in traffic, so I wide open road is just the greatest. Sounds like a great weekend!
It is--glad you agree!
Allyson (Considering The Radish) says
Farro salads are my favorite salads. I think the best thing about farro is that it absorbs all the dressing and goes from bland to flavor bomb. This looks delicious- I've never put butternut squash in a salad before, but I bet it's excellent.
YES I agree--farro does absorb the flavor and goes from meh to awesome instantly.
Julia Mueller says
Beautiful! I've got a whoooole lotta squash life left in my system, so I'd happily put this dish on repeat. Loving the nutty farro with the cinnamony butternut squash, and that goat cheese and those walnuts? Sounds like the perfect bite to me!
It's all of the best foods in one dish!
Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says
Love butternut squash AND farro. You're a genius for combining them because I agree that farro by itself can be a little mehhh. This looks gorgeous!! 🙂
Thanks so much Marina!