FARRO “RISOTTO” WITH SQUASH, CRANBERRIES, WALNUTS AND BABY SPINACH

Delicata Squash Farro Risotto

FARRO “RISOTTO” WITH SQUASH, CRANBERRIES, WALNUTS AND BABY SPINACH

by | Nov 13, 2020

This Farro “Risotto” with Squash, Cranberries, Walnuts and Baby Spinach is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. Of course it’s not risotto. It’s not made with short grain white rice, it doesn’t contain cheese and butter and it doesn’t require standing in front of the stove for thirty minutes or more. But those “nots” are truly the beauty of it. The dense, chewy structure of farro and its rich, nutty flavor help to create this plant based risotto-style dish which is accented with cranberries, walnuts, squash and spinach.

Delicata Squash Farro Risotto In Bowl
Delicata Squash Farro Risotto
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Farro "Risotto" with Squash, Cranberries, Walnuts and Baby Spinach

Accented with cranberries, walnuts, squash and baby spinach, this Farro "Risotto" is perfect for your holiday table.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: Dairy free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Calories: 336kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 delicata squash
  • ¼ cup shallots minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 cup farro
  • ¼ cup dry white wine For vegan and vegetarian diets, if you choose to use wine, make certain that it is vegan or vegetarian.
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup baby spinach packed

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Cut off the stem end of the delicata squash. Secure the squash on the counter and slice it in half lengthwise . Scoop out the seeds, and cut each half into ¼ to ½ inch slices. Chop each slice into a ¼ to 1/2 inch dice. Place the diced squash on a sheet pan.
  • Drizzle the olive oil on the squash, and toss it gently with your hands to make sure that each piece is coated.
  • Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the delicata squash is tender and caramelized.
  • Heat a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of water. When the water bubbles, add the shallots. Stir with a wooden spoon until the shallots are soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed to keep the onions from sticking to the pan.
  • Add the garlic, and continue stirring for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the farro and continue stirring until it is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine, scrape the pan with your spoon, and allow all of the liquid to be absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until all of the stock has been absorbed and the farro is tender but still firm.
  • Add the squash, cranberries, walnuts and baby spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • Season with salt to taste.

Notes

You can substitute any winter squash for the delicata squash in this recipe.  One delicata squash will yield about 1½ to 2 cups of diced squash.  
To make this recipe gluten free, substitute brown rice or buckwheat for the farro.   

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 723mg | Potassium: 660mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2627IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2mg

You’ll need the following ingredients for this recipe…

  • Olive oil
  • 1 Delicata squash or another winter squash of your choice
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Farro
  • Dry white wine
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Cranberries
  • Walnuts
  • Baby spinach
Ingredients for Farro "Risotto"

Quick Recipe Recap: Roast the diced delicata squash and set aside. In a large heavy pot, water saute the shallots and when they are soft and translucent, add the garlic. Stir for about thirty seconds and add the farro. Toast the farro, stirring constantly, for a few minutes. Add the dry white wine, scrape the bottom of the pan and continue cooking until the wine is almost evaporated. Ad the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the farro is soft and chewy and the stock is absorbed. Stir in the cranberries, squash, walnuts and baby spinach. Reduce the heat, and cook until the spinach is wilted.

Things you might like to know about this recipe for Farro “Risotto” with Squash, Cranberries, Walnuts and Baby Spinach…

Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash is also called sweet potato squash. Its taste is a cross between sweet potatoes and butternut squash. The skin, which is edible, is pale yellow with green stripes. Its shape is oblong, and it is in season from late summer through late fall. It is a good source of potassium, iron and Vitamins A and C.

Dry white wine

Choose wine to cook with that you enjoy drinking. A poor quality wine can affect the outcome of a dish in a significant way. I usually use Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio when a recipe calls for dry white wine, but you can also use other wines such as Albarino, dry Riesling, Viognier and Chardonnay.

Wine may not be classified as vegan or even vegetarian. “Fining” agents used to clarify wine include: casein (milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein), and isinglass (fish bladder protein)

Farro

Farro is an ancient grain which reemerged in Italy and is popular with chefs around the world. It belongs to the wheat family, and therefore contains gluten. It is chewy and nutty and often used in risotto-style dishes and also soups, stews and salads. Farro is a good source of fiber, iron, protein and magnesium.

Garlic

Most recipes including this one measure garlic by cloves. There can be a very big difference in size from one garlic clove to the next. Experiment with the amount of garlic that you enjoy in your cooking, and adjust the amount used accordingly. Here’s a picture of cloves from one head of garlic to illustrate this point.

garlic cloves

Shallots

Although green shallots are available in the spring, dry shallots are available year round like onions and garlic. They are a member of the onion family and have a mild onion flavor. They should be firm without wrinkles or sprouts when purchased.

Vegetable Stock

I prefer to make my vegetable stock from scratch. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t contain unwanted added ingredients such as salt. If you prefer a supermarket brand, I recommend Better Than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Seasoned Vegetable Base. You can measure 1 teaspoon per cup of boiling water and store the container in the refrigerator for later use. I prefer the flavor to most canned/boxed stocks.

Water Sauteing

My preference is to avoid the calories in oils whenever possible. Although some oils are healthier than others, one tablespoon contains about 120 calories. Sauteing with water or broth instead of oil is a great way to save those calories, and in the context of this recipe, the flavor will not be affected.

Heat your pan on high and add about ¼ cup of water. Reduce the heat to medium and add the ingredient(s) to saute. Stir constantly until they reach the doneness that your recipe requires. For example, if you are sauteing onions, you will most often want them to be soft and translucent before adding other ingredients. Continue adding a small amount of water as needed to keep the ingredient(s) from sticking to the pan.

Here’s a quick YouTube video demonstrating water sauteing.

You might also enjoy this Roasted Garlic and Carrot Hummus as an appetizer for your holiday gatherings.

Roasted Carrot Hummus in Bowl with Knife

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