Farro salad with cumin-yogurt dressing


I’ve kept you on pins and needles waiting for this recipe, haven’t I? To be honest, I delayed posting it because I wasn’t as happy with it the last time I made it and wanted to make a few adjustments, so you see, I had your welfare in mind all along. Well, that and we were away on vacation, and have just generally slipped into a more relaxed summer mode.

This is another grain salad, one called “farrotto” in the original recipe, but that’s entirely misleading. Farro is a kind of wheat, an ancient and therefore apparently expensive one, but we have successfully subbed in other grains and things for this salad and it’s still delicious; you do want something a bit toothsome, so I’d go with brown rice or bulgur over quinoa or couscous.

before and after: farro on a bodybuilding regimen

Yeah, there are a lot of steps here, yet another reason I didn’t get around to posting this earlier. It is slightly streamlined, in fact! And it doesn’t seem that complicated when you actually do it, I swear. You make the dressing ahead of time so the cumin gets a chance to really infuse the yogurt, and if you use the prepackaged cubes of butternut squash, the rest of the prep is a total breeze.

Farro salad with yogurt-cumin dressing
Adapted from Bon Appetit

This salad (nothing like a risotto, original name notwithstanding) is light yet filling meal; I think of butternut squash as an autumn feature, but since they’re available year-round now, this makes a great potluck dish in the summertime too. I have no compunction about tossing the dressing in with the salad rather than drizzling it over the top and then packing it up to go.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 small tub (5.3 oz) plain Greek yogurt (fat-free is fine)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • one medium butternut squash, cut into ½-inch dice (about 4 cups)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked farro
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced thin
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro


  • In a small pan over medium heat, toast the ground cumin until fragrant. Set aside to cool, them stir into the yogurt with one of the minced garlic cloves. Squeeze half a lemon into the sauce and then refrigerate the sauce, reserving the other lemon half for serving.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farro, lower temperature to keep the pot at a vigorous simmer and cook until the farro is tender, 18-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes with 1 tablespoon oil and the red pepper flakes, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • In a large pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and saute all but a small handful of the onion and two cloves minced garlic over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cooked farro and squash and toss together, cooking for another minute or two.
  • To serve, tip the farro-squash mixture into a bowl or platter. Squeeze the remaining half a lemon over the salad, then spoon the yogurt sauce artistically across the top. Finally, scatter the remaining onion and cilantro over everthing.


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