This farro recipe combines health and flavor for an easy side dish. It is definitely one of my most popular butternut squash recipes.
If you're looking for a simple but delicious Thanksgiving side to serve this year, this is one you have to make!
What is farro?
You've probably hear of farro, or if you're like me, maybe you are new to it. It has been around for centuries, I'm just a little to the farro party.
Farro is made from a variety of wheat grains. It is similar in texture to barley but it stays firm and chewy long after being cooked. It is ideal for salads, soups, and as we show you here, a healthy casserole.
What's in it?
This farro casserole is made with chunks of savory butternuts squash and applewood-smoked bacon. It's an easy fall casserole recipe and a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving.
This farro recipe uses chicken stock. You'll want to make the chicken stock from scratch because it is so much better than store-bought and you know exactly what's in it. And more importantly, what's not!
In case you have ever wondered, we did a post for you to answer the question what's the difference between broth and stock? Do you know?
How to make it
(Full recipe at the end of post.)
You'll use your oven to make this farro casserole, in a couple of stages. First, you need to place the bacon on a baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper to minimize the mess.
Next, you'll saute the onions, and add the seasoning. Then, the farro and butternut squash take a hot bath in the chicken stock and onion mixture.
The bacon and the casserole (covered) are baked for about 30 minutes, in the same oven. You want the bacon to be brown, but it won't be crispy - which is fine. Allow it to cool slightly and then dice it into big meaty chunks.
Sprinkle the bacon and Parmesan cheese over the top of the casserole. Then, you will let it bake for another 20 minutes or so, uncovered, until the liquid is absorbed.
Pro Cooking Tip
Check the casserole while it is baking to make sure it doesn't get too dry. Add a little more chicken stock to the pot, if needed.
Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days. Be sure to use an air-tight container and reheat in a saute pan when you're ready to serve as a second round.
It is loaded with dense nutrients and fiber, making this recipe a healthy casserole. Read more about the health benefits of farro, from the Mayo Clinic.
You can easily convert this into a vegan farro recipe. Instead of bacon, use toasted walnuts. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. Additionally, you may want to add some of the following to enhance the flavor:
- Roasted baby tomatoes
- Whole cloves of roasted garlic
Other Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Wilted Spinach
- Roasted Broccoli with Cheese and Lemon
- Balsamic-Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Rosemary Buttered Carrots
- Roasted Fennel
- Hasselback Butternut Squash
I hope you give this farro and butternut squash casserole a try. I think you and your famiy and guests will really enjoy it! Please leave a comment below and give us your thoughts.
Butternut Squash Farro
- ½ lb Bacon About 6 pieces. Thick-cut, applewood-smoked, if possible.
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Yellow Onion Large, diced
- 2 tsp Thyme leaves Fresh, chopped
- Kosher salt, and black pepper To taste
- 1.5 cups Pearled farro
- 3 cups Chicken stock
- 3 cups Butternut squash Peeled. 1" dice
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese Grated
- 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the bacon on a baking rack set on a sheet pan.
- In a small (9-inch) Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Add the thyme, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the farro and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Place the squash on top of the farro mixture, cover, and bake in the same oven with the bacon for 30 minutes, until the squash and farro are tender. Check once during cooking and add a little chicken stock if it's dry.
- Bake the bacon until browned (it won't be crisp). Allow to cool then cut it into a very large dice.
- Sprinkle the bacon and Parmesan on the squash and farro and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, the farro and butternut squash are tender, and the cheese has melted. Serve hot directly from the pot