Farro with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

August 5th, 2019


This is really my sister’s recipe, although I give myself a little credit for helping.  Actually, though, it’s probably really Heidi Swanson’s recipe, since it’s sort of a cross between two recipes that she put up on her amazing blog — Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash, and  Hazlenut and Chard Ravioli Salad.  Both, I’m sure, are delicious on their own, and we loved this hodgepodge of the two.

I had never made farro before, and it was nutty and delicious with a great texture (and healthy!).  If you don’t have access to farro, quinoa would be a great substitute, or even whole wheat pasta.  Shockingly, I had also never cooked swiss chard before!  I know that I’ve seen it at the farmer’s market on plenty of trips, though,  so I will definitely be experimenting with it again.

I had a little bit of an internal debate over whether to tag this as a “main dish” or as a “side dish.”  I would eat this as a vegetarian meal, certainly, but it could also be served as a side.  So I’m putting it in both categories to avoid waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, thinking to myself, “it should have been a main course…”  There are only so many times that can happen, you know?


Farro with Butternut Squash
and Swiss Chard

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fleur de sel (or coarse sea salt)
1 bunch swiss chard, washed and cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
2 cups butternut squash pieces (we used the kind that comes sliced from the store)
zest of one lemon
2 cups farro
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1. In a large stock pot, heat farro, salt and stock to a simmer. Stir every few minutes for 35-40 min, or until farro is nearly cooked (still slightly crunchy, with some stock remaining to be absorbed).
2. While farro is cooking, in a large saute pan, cook olive oil, onions and garlic until translucent.
3. Add hazlenuts and toast rapidly, about 2 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat.
4. After 35 minutes, add butternut squash, lemon zest, and onion/hazlenut mixture to the farro. Simmer 10 minutes. Add swiss chard, simmer five additional minutes or until farro is fully cooked and all the stock has been absorbed. Remove from heat and serve!

Serves 8 as a side, 4-6 as a main course.

Tags: food · main dishes · side dishes

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Allie // Jan 12, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    this looks delicious!

  • 2 emily // Jan 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    a note on shelling hazlenuts…every year my family chooses a recipe that requires shelled hazlenuts…every year we have trouble finding these and fnd ourselves cursing the hazlenut gods talking ourselves into thinking that it is a.o.k to leave the bitter flaky “shells” on.  it isn’t.  toast them in the oven, then rub them about in a dish rag.  that gets the job done ! ! Nuts should also always be toasted when they are thrown into dishes like this…makes them nuttier!!

  • 3 katy // Jan 12, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Allie — Thanks!

    Emily — haha, you are so funny.  YOU always pick the hazlenut dishes!  But I agree on the toasting… although I put raw nuts in my salads and they’re still delicious!

  • 4 Cakespy // Jan 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    DAMN that looks good! You’re so freakin’ motivating. 🙂

  • 5 peabody // Jan 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    That looks like it is bursting with flavor!

  • 6 MyKitchenInHalfCups // Jan 13, 2008 at 12:14 am

    My dad used to grow and cook chard when I was growing up.  I never cooked it myself until our younger son re-introduced me to it a couple of years ago.  Is that called skipping generations?  Any way I really enjoy it now.
    This looks like a lovely dish.  Great photos Katy.

  • 7 myfrenchkitchen // Jan 13, 2008 at 3:06 am

    Lovely pictures! and this dish looks beautifully scrumptuous, not forgetting healthy!

  • 8 Ellie // Jan 13, 2008 at 7:40 am

    I must admit that I’m unfamiliar with farro, but that’s the great thing about food blogs, its a wonderful way to learn about new ingredients and how they’re used! Lovely photos!

  • 9 Emiline // Jan 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    The combination of squash, hazelnuts, swiss chard, and farrro, sounds like a good one.
    We don’t have farro!  Boo hoo!

    I want to try farro, quinoa, millet, and more.  Maybe someday.

  • 10 katy // Jan 13, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Cakespy, Peabody — Thanks!

    Tanna — I think it’s such a good substitute for plain old spinach, I’m going to be using it in a lot of dishes!  🙂

    Ronell — Thanks!

    Ellie — Absolutely.  I can’t even count the ingredients I’ve discovered from other people’s blogs!

    Emiline — Oh no!  Its hard to find, even here, though.  Brown rice would be another possible substitute, and much easier to get one’s hands on!

  • 11 emily // Jan 13, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    What’s funny, is that we ended up using farro because we couldn’t find bulgar.  Im not sure there is any rhyme or reason to what you can and cannot find sometimes.  I think few things go better with grains than swiss chard…at marks and spencer they sell ready-set-go containers of veggie mixes…alot of times with veg ive never even heard of.  my newest favorite is the rainbow variety that includes spring onions snow peas bock choy and chinese cabage….steam these, cook some brown rice or quinoa, a bit of olive oil heated with chili flakes, a dash of soy, and a fried egg on top is a pretty darn healthy and delicious fried rice!! long story short, yay chard ! !

  • 12 núria // Jan 14, 2008 at 4:16 am

    Katy, you always come with these exotic ingredients!! I’ve never heard of farro… looked up in the dictionary and it doesn’t show… ups! It looks like rice, but what is it?
    Great and tempting pictures!

  • 13 núria // Jan 14, 2008 at 4:16 am

    Katy, you always come with these exotic ingredients!! I’ve never heard of farro… looked up in the dictionary and it doesn’t show… ups! It looks like rice, but what is it?
    Great and tempting pictures!

  • 14 Jitterbean Girl // Jan 16, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Yum!  This reminds me of my favorite risotto (butternut squash with wilted spinach and pine nuts) but way healthier.

    Would spelt be another good grain choice?  I don’t think I’ll be able to find farro in Alaska, but I always have some quinoa in my fridge if all else fails.

  • 15 katy // Jan 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Emily — on yum, egg and grains mix so well!  (yay chard, absolutely!)

    Nuria — It does look like rice, but farro is a grain, similar to barley or spelt.  You should be able to find it in health food stores, or substitute another grain that you have on hand!

    Stacey — Spelt is actually VERY similar to farro — I haven’t cooked with spelt much, so I didn’t think of it off the bat, but they could definitely be used interchangably (just taste to make sure the cooking times are still appropriate).  Farro is slightly chewier and firmer han spelt, but spelt would definitely work!

  • 16 Christine // Jan 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I’m glad to have found your blog. I love that you are experimenting with very interesting flavors. I’m so intrigued by the garlic jam! I make a very similar recipe as this using barley.  It’s tasty, beautiful looking and so healthy.

  • 17 Mallow // Jan 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Ooo yum.  I’ve been wanting to try farro, and I can’t seem to get enough squash this year.

  • 18 Christina // Sep 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Ooh, that looks SOOOO yummy! Thanks for the tip about using quinoa or brown rice. I’ve got my family on the GFCF diet (no gluten & no dairy) because we have two boys on the autism spectrum. They’re really responding well (especially the more affected one!), and I’m always on the lookout for recipes that they might like. I plan to try this & post back!

  • 19 Swiss Chard and Butternut Squash Bulgar « Cooking Hussy // Mar 3, 2009 at 7:16 am

    […] week night dinner. Originally from Heidi at 101cookbooks.com, this recipe added on a bit, based on the recipe found here.  Also, I couldn’t find farro at my little local grocery store, or at Trader Joe’s, so […]

  • 20 Tiffany // Apr 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if I could post your picture and website on my blog.  I’m just starting a new food blog.  I found your recipe through google images,tried it, and really liked it.  Let me know when you get a chance please. =) Thanks.

  • 21 Farro with Butternut Squash and Kale « Apples in Autumn // Oct 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    […] that is for certain is that it is a whole grain, so I’m happy to add it to my pantry.  Using this recipe as a guide, I threw together farro with butternut squash and […]

  • 22 Farro with Kale and Fennel | bakingbandit // Mar 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    […] adapted from sugarlaws […]

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