Simple Sundays | Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing

This warm Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing is a wholesome and comforting dish – perfect with Thanksgiving turkey, as a side for a delicious winter meal, or as a wholesome lunch on its own.

Simple Sundays | Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing

This warm Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing is a wholesome and comforting dish – perfect with Thanksgiving turkey, as a side for a delicious winter meal, or as a wholesome lunch on its own.

This warm Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing is a wholesome and comforting dish - perfect with Thanksgiving turkey, as a side for a delicious winter meal, or as a wholesome lunch on its own.


I overheard my children in the middle of a discussion. For once, they were in agreement.

“My favorite months are from October to January.”

“Yeah.”

I can totally see why. It all starts with my son’s birthday in early October, launching us into what is three months of festivity and food. And presents. Halloween brought us bucketfuls of sweets (which, amazingly, is nearly all gone), and in a few days we will be brining the turkey and making the pies for Thanksgiving.

Tis the season.

Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing

Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing | www.kitchenconfidante.com

I love this time of year for slightly different reasons. Oven roasted anything, for one. Pumpkins. Cranberries. Butternut squash. All those wintery flavors that make you want to stay in a cook all day.

These last several weeks, I’ve been a little obsessed with butternut squash and farro. I blame – or thank – a dish I tried when I met some wonderful ladies for dinner at Davanti Enoteca while I was in Chicago not too long ago. We ordered tons of dishes to share, but it was a warm insalata that was my favorite of the evening: Roasted Squash with Farro Whipped Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts and Watercress. I knew I had to make something similar when I came back home.

Farro makes this Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing wholesome and satisfying!

Many batches of roasted butternut squash and farro later, and I couldn’t wait to share this Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing with you. It’s my idea of a perfect fall dish – whether as a side for Thanksgiving turkey, or a simple weeknight meal, next to thick pork chops, or even all by itself for a wholesome lunch. It’s meant to be served warm, to take you through these cold winter months.

Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing

As for this my kids and this season of festivity, we’re just getting started. Thanksgiving will bring us my sister and her husband, then we will dive right into readying the house of Christmas, New Years, and soon after, my daughter’s birthday. When I write it all out, it sounds a little daunting, but I just need to remember: take it one dish at a time.

Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing is so versatile - make it as a side for Thanksgiving or a weeknight fall supper.

Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing - a festive autumn dish that is a perfect side, whether for Thanksgiving or an easy weeknight meal.

This warm Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing is a wholesome and comforting dish - perfect with Thanksgiving turkey, as a side for a delicious winter meal, or as a wholesome lunch on its own.

Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing

Serves 4-6 | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 50 minutes

When I was in Chicago, I became enamored with a roasted butternut squash, farro and goat cheese dish at Davanti Enoteca. I knew I had to recreate it at home. This Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad with Kale, Farro and Cranberry Dressing is meant to be served warm, and is my idea of a perfect fall dish – whether it is a side for Thanksgiving, or a simple lunch onto itself!

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

4 cloves garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cups farro

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 shallot, finely diced

3 cups finely shredded kale

1/4 cup feta cheese

 

For the Cranberry Dressing:

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cranberry juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Placed the butternut squash and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss well, using your hands to evenly coat the squash. Roast the squash in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender.

While the buttenut squash and garlic roasts, place the farro and about 4-5 cups of cold water in a saucepan, season generously with kosher salt, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the farro comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover, and let the farro cook for up to 40 minutes, or until the farro has bloomed. Check your farro package for instructions, as some farro may cook faster/longer.

When the butternut squash is tender, remove from the oven and set aside. Squeeze the garlic out of the peel into a small bowl, mash with a fork, and set aside. Discard garlic peel.

In a deep sided saute pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and roasted garlic and cook for a minute or two, or until the shallots are translucent. Stir in the kale, butternut squash, and farro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let it sit while you make the cranberry dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, cranberry juice, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Stir in about half of the dressing into the warm salad. Stir in the feta cheese.

Transfer the salad to a serving dish and serve warm, with additional dressing on the side.

Notes

Roasting the butternut squash and garlic, as well as cooking the farro can be done in advance. I like to keep cooked farro in the refrigerator, which makes this dish come together faster.

Comments

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  1. Erin

    This was delicious! A nice simple recipe with a bit of a twist on the vinagrette. This will make a fine skeleton for other combinations of flavors and dressings.

    Just what I needed for a cold day. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Suzanne

    What is the white element in all the photos? Feta? If so, shy not in the recipe?

    Reply
  3. E A Balschi

    Just made this for Thanksgiving 2018 and it was a complete fail. Way too mushy – butternut squash broke apart, farro was soft and kale when added to recipe also soft. Flavor was eh.
    Feta cheese helped but didn’t rescue this dish

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi, E A, nothing makes me more upset than to hear that a recipe didn’t work, especially on a holiday, and more so when a recipe is usually foolproof for myself and other readers. It is possible that your oven runs hot or your butternut squash more on the tender side, or that it cooked a little too long. Farro can vary, and I do recommend in the recipe that you refer to the cooking instructions on the packaging – I’ve had some 10-minute farro (like the Trader Joe’s one) and of course, the 40-minute ones. So sorry it didn’t work out for you.

      Reply
  4. Rena

    Hmmm… I have some pomegranate juice. I think that would be great in the dressing, too. Going to a Thanksgiving potluck and this seems like just the thing.

    Reply
  5. Bebhinn

    I haven’t gotten a chance to thank you- this recipe is legit AWESOME. I made it last minute for Christmas last year with the gamble that is would either be a great big win or a great, big fail. Well, it was a gigantic win. Everybody LOVES it. The flavor combinations are on point. Thank you so much for sharing so that I can share it with my family and friends.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Oh my gosh, you are SO welcome! This makes me so happy – I’m glad that it was a delicious part of your Christmas last year, it’s definitely one of my favorite salads to make this time of year!! Thank you for coming back to let me know!

      Reply
  6. Linnet Tse

    Excellent – made for a women’s group last night, and it was the hit of the evening! I added dried cranberries and pistachios, and used a sherry vinegar/balsamic vinegar/olive vinaigrette instead that I use for other farro salads. I also used my complete bunch of kale, which turned into more like 4 cups instead of 3, and 3 lbs of butternut squash. Outstanding.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Nancy, I’m pleased that you are interested in trying this recipe! I believe your comment was intended as an email to share and not as a blog comment. If you ever want to share recipes from my site, you can use the “email this” button from the share menu. I hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Nancy, I’m pleased that you are interested in trying this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Winter Salad – it’s one of my favorites! I believe your comment was intended as an email to share and not as a blog comment. If you ever want to share recipes from my site, you can use the “email this” button from the share menu. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. Ashley

    Hi Ashley,
    Here is the recipe you wanted. So glad you and Andrew were able to come over for Christmas. Was really nice to meet you. Hope to see the two of you again soon. Have a happy new year!
    Dee

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe! Ashley, I believe this was meant as an email to you and not a comment; I will follow up by sending you the recipe, too!

      Reply
  8. Liz

    Oh, yeah! I adore farro and your salad is perfect for a week of delicious lunches!! Can’t wait to give it a try!

    Reply
  9. Lori Anne

    This salad is amazing!!!! I made it for dinner last night…I o n ly had one cup of farrow, notime to head to the food store, I was super disappointed so I subbed a cup of sprouted rice. I made everything else as the recipe called for. Delish!!! Thanks for an awesome recipe! I will definitely add this to the rotation!

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Lori Anne,

      Great save! The sprouted rice was a brilliant idea and addition to the farro :) I’m SO happy you love the salad as much as I do – it’s one of my winter favorites!

      Reply
  10. Cathy

    Does the recipe call for 2 cups of cooked farro, or should I start with 2 cups uncooked? If I recall correctly, farro expands a bit during cooking.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Cathy, start with uncooked farro! The recipe includes directions on how to cook the farro. Hope this helps :)

      Reply
  11. hoosierlib

    Made this tonight! delicious, and added acorn squash since I had it on hand. It seems like lemon or lime juice could replace the cranberry juice if you want to prevent the purchase of something you might not normally buy (it’s expensive where I live).

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      I’m so glad you liked it! Love the idea of using lemon or lime juice in place of cranberry juice — balsamic vinegar also comes to mind as a good substitute!

      Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Thanks, Ashlyn!! I’m always looking for more ways to enjoy butternut squash, too. This one is definitely a favorite :)

      Reply
  12. Mary

    Liren, this is such a lovely – and healthy – salad.  I have been looking for a good recipe for a kale and butternut squash salad.  Now, I have to look no further.  Can’t wait to make this!

    Reply
  13. Laura

    Oh yum, this looks like just the sort of cozy roasted veggie/grain bowl I want to eat all fall/winter long. Oven roasted vegetables + the holidays, this is my favorite time of year too! :)

    Reply
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