Health Your Grains Up with Farro

October 11, 2019

farro is a healthy grain

-- By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian at Providence Health

Print a downloadable version here.

Farro is one of my favorite ancient grains. Evidence shows it has been cultivated since as early as 10,000 BC, and it still is a popular ingredient in Italy. (It works well with that Mediterranean diet... you know the one that’s always at the top of the “best diet” lists?).

Packed full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, Farro adds a great nutty flavor to your dishes. It’s also a nice alternative to the refined grains that are so prevalent in our diets but that we should be trying to replace with whole ones (like… you guessed it… farro).

Today’s recipe combines farro with another of my favorite fall foods...butternut squash! 

Farro Salad with Roasted Winter Squash and Pears


  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • ½ salt, divided
  • 1 butternut squash, about 1 1/3 lbs
  • ¼ c plus 1 ½ tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tsp maple syrup, divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper, divided
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups packed fresh baby spinach or arugula
  • Small ripe pear, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 400◦F. Cook farrro according to package directions.; stir in 1/8 tsp salt. Cool slightly. While farro cooks, Pierce squash several times with a knife. Microwave on high power for 1 minute. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Peel squash and cut into 1-inch chunks. Toss with 1 ½ tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper on a large baking sheet . Bake 20 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, 2 tsp maple syrup, mustard 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Drizzle in ¼ c olive oil while whisking. Add cooked farro, stirring to coat . Add roasted squash , spinach, pear and walnuts and toss gently.

 Nutrition Information: 230 calories, 12 gr fat, 28 CR carbohydrate, 200 mg sodium, 5 gr protein 

[Recipe source: Today’s Dietitian, September 2019]

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Join Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian, for her monthly award-winning Providence Cooks! cooking classes in Columbia, SC. The class tackles various dietary hurdles by creating, with her team of chefs, a multi-course gourmet meal that promotes health and fits within dietary restrictions. All guests enjoy the healthy sit-down meal with live Q&A from Kay, the chefs, and other special health expert guests. It's a must-try for people interested in healthy eating without losing the flavor and joy of eating. 

Call 800.424.DOCS (3627) to learn about the next Providence Cooks!