Posts by tag: dinner

  • Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks

Posted on October 27, 2016

This post was originally published here on September 26, 2014. I’ve updated the images and text, because let’s be honest, it was pretty bad before.

It’s almost time for Halloween! Are you excited? Terrified? Somewhere in between?

Me? I’m a big chicken when it comes to all the scary stuff. In fact, I’m still thinking about some awful horror movie that I was forced to watch last Halloween. I kid you not. So in general, it’s best if I just avoid all that creepy stuff. Also, I really don’t like dressing up in costumes. So I think it’s safe to say that the only thing I fully embrace on Halloween is the free candy.

{Insert brilliant segue}

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks |

By this time of year, I’ve usually fallen deep into my love affair with roasted butternut squash. I love it as a side dish, mixed in with green salads and I’ve even been know to enjoy it for breakfast. It’s all squash, all the time.

So because I consume so much butternut squash, I’ve been trying to come up with new partners for it to play with in hearty, “main meal” type of salads. And that has motivated me to start using farro as a ingredient in my kitchen. It’s kind of a new grain for me (I’ve been stuck in a quinoa rut for some time), and I’m happy to be exploring it more now. It’s got a really satisfying, chewy texture. And a subtle nutty flavor that makes it perfect for cozy Fall dishes.

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks |

Farro cooks up similarly to rice or quinoa, requiring just a few extra minutes on the stovetop. But be sure to buy pearled farro and not whole farro, or else you’ll have to perform an overnight soak and you’ll need a longer cooking time as well.

I’ve also been getting into raw brussels sprouts lately. Their flavor is pretty mild when raw. But if that’s not your thing, you could certainly roast them up with the butternut squash and leeks.



Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks

Serves about 6

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks


  • For the Salad
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 leek, bottom white portion thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups brussels spouts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons hazelnuts, roughly chopped

  • For the Dressing
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the butternut squash, sliced leeks, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and allspice together in a large bowl. Then spread everything out on a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. While the squash is roasting, bring the farro and the water to a boil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, covered, about 25-30 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly. Note: if you have whole farro instead of pearled farro, this will require an overnight soak and a longer cooking time. Follow the package instructions.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing until smooth, using 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to thin it to your desired consistency.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted vegetables, cooked farro, sliced brussels sprouts, cilantro and dressing, starting with about half of the dressing and adding more to suit your taste preferences, until everything is well coated.
  5. Transfer the salad to serving plates and top with some of the chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
  6. The salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Leftovers can be eaten cold or re-warmed slightly.
  • Chicken and Pumpkin Chili {#virtualpumpkinparty}

Chicken and Pumpkin Chili {#virtualpumpkinparty}

Posted on October 24, 2016

If you’re a pumpkin lover, then today is your special day. Because it’s the second annual Virtual Pumpkin Party hosted by Sara from Cake Over Steak. Which means that dozens and dozens of brand spanking new savory and sweet pumpkin recipes from some of your favorite food bloggers will be hitting the internet. It’s kind of epic.

Me? I’ve never really been bitten by the pumpkin bug. In fact, I’m sometimes even audibly opposed to the whole idea. Part of this is for social/cultural reasons. I just can’t stand the pumpkin mania that descends upon us every August. It’s too soon. August is for eating watermelon until your hands and face are sticky. And for enjoying fruity cocktails in the sun until you feel that warm glow both inside and out. August is not meant for pumpkin. So I find myself shunning pumpkin, maybe more harshly than it deserves. Because in my own weird way, it’s how I rebel against the early adopters.

Pumpkins |

Also, I’ve come to realize that I’m just not a super huge fan of either the canned stuff or the overpowering flavor that can come from pre-made pumpkin spice mixes. Sure, I’ve used them in the past with success. And I probably will again in the future. There is no denying their convenience. But maybe going forward, they won’t be my main source for pumpkin inspiration.

So to try to learn to love pumpkin (or at least to not so fiercely oppose it), I’m setting my focus on the fresh stuff. Real pumpkins. Grown locally and harvested in season. And you know what? I may be turning over a new leaf.

Chicken and Pumpkin Chili {#virtualpumpkinparty} |

For last years #virtualpumpkinparty, I crafted this festive Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum (have you seen the color of this baby?). So this year, I decided to go the savory route. I picked up some fresh pumpkins from the local farm stand (the ones for cooking will be labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”) and got to work at creating this easy Chicken and Pumpkin Chili. It’s super hearty, filled with big chunks of pumpkin, shredded chicken and both white and black beans. And it’s loaded with warming spices like ginger and cumin. Oh and don’t skip the corn tortilla chips for serving. They are absolutely necessary, in my humble opinion.

To make my life easier, I used shredded chicken that I removed from one of those grocery store rotisserie chickens. It’s one of my favorite kitchen shortcuts, and I have no shame in admitting that. But you can cook your own chicken at home and use that instead, if you prefer.

Dismantling a whole pumpkin can be a bit intimidating. And I’m certainly no expert at this task. I cut mine into wedges, scooped out and discarded the seeds. Then removed the skin with a standard vegetable peeler before dicing the flesh into cubes. If you have a better way of handling things, please let me know! Oh and if you’re opposed to pumpkin (or simply can’t find any fresh ones), you can substitute in an equal amount of peeled and cubed butternut squash or sweet potato.

To check out all the other bloggers pumpkin recipes, visit Sara’s blog HERE for the full list. And here is last years list, if you need even more inspiration!



Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Goddess

Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

Serves 4

Chicken and Pumpkin Chili


  • For the Chili
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed (cut into about 1-inch pieces) fresh pumpkin
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Juice from 1 lime

  • For Topping
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and diced jalapeño pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the cubed pumpkin and all the spices, stirring to coat the vegetables in the spices.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth and beans. Cover the pot and bring the chili to a boil. Then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the chili, covered, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Stir in the shredded chicken, agave and lime juice and cook until the chicken is warmed through.
  3. To serve, ladle the chili into bowls. Top with crushed tortilla chips and fresh cilantro, if desired.
  4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.

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