Roasted stuffed butternut squash is full of a medley of farro, cranberries, chickpeas, & blood orange zest for a vegetarian dish perfect for the fall harvest season.
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Farro Stuffed Butternut Squash
I love the simplicity of roasted squash. While you can usually get butternut squash throughout the year, there is something really beautiful about the towering piles of butternut, acorn, and pie pumpkin squash in the market this time of year. It’s rare I can leave the store without one or two every visit.
This year, I really wanted to think of a delicious vegetarian dish that would look beautiful in any harvest spread, and stuffed butternut squash seemed like the perfect solution. This particular recipe – stuffed with hearty farro and chickpeas – is packed with filling protein, and the combination of dried cranberries, orange zest, and fresh sage bring classic holiday flavors to the equation.
I hope you’ll consider serving this Farro Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries & Chickpeas as a main dish or a side at your next Harvest or Thanksgiving dinner. You won’t regret it.
Cooking with Farro
What exactly is farro you ask? This hearty grain is a wild cousin of wheat, and its packed with protein and fiber. Similar in texture to barley, it’s toothsome and has a slightly nutty flavor when cooked.
While I often use farro in exchange for rice (like in the medley below), it can be a little trickier to cook because the grains are so dense. I recommend using Rick Martinez’s Pasta Method for farro that isn’t too mushy or too hard. As the name implies, cook the farro the same way you would dry pasta. Using a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup grain, bring the water to a boil and then stir in the farro. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring and checking occasionally, until the farro is al-dente in texture. Ta da! Perfect farro. Remove the pot from heat and fluff it up like you would rice or couscous. What little water that is left should absorb as it sits, but if it seems like too much, feel free to drain it out (just like pasta).
Farro Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries & Chickpeas
Stuffed with hearty farro, cranberries, chickpeas, and orange zest, this whole roasted butternut squash is a delicious vegetarian dish perfect for fall.
Inspired by Well Plated.
- 3 whole butternut squash medium sized
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Farro Harvest Medley
- 3 cups farro cooked
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup celery diced
- ½ cup carrots diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sage diced
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 1 can 14.5 ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Zest & juice of 1 blood orange
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Halve the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds and discard. Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven cut side up for 45 minutes.
As the butternut squash bakes, make the farro medley. Cook your farro according to package instructions until al dente (see note). Set aside.
In a large heavy bottom pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter. Add the carrots, celery, salt, and pepper. Sauté until softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sage and thyme and cook another 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, cranberries, and zest and juice of the blood orange. Stir and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until the chickpeas are cooked through. Stir in three cups of cooked farro and toss until well combined. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if desired. Remove the pot from heat.
When the butternut squash is done roasting, remove the tray from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out some of the flesh, leaving at least ¾ inch on the sides and bottom. You can reserve this flesh for another use, or mix some in with your rice.
Spoon the rice mixture into the cavities of the butternut squash and press down to compact it. Bake the stuffed squash for about 10 minutes, until cooked through. Serve sprinkled with fresh herbs.
Cooking Farro: Because of the various types and its heartier nature, farro can be a little trickier to cook than rice. I like using The Pasta Method to cook farro, which basically treats it like dry pasta: Using a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup grain, bring the water to a boil and then stir in the farro. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring and checking occasionally, until the farro is al-dente. Then, is there is any liquid left in the pot, drain before use.
Serving Sizes: Each stuffed butternut squash should be enough to feed 2 people as a main dish, or 3 as a side dish, depending on the size of the squash.
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