Recipe: Butternut Squash Farro Perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner

This side dish is filled with nutty farro, sweet butternut squash, and crunchy pepitas.

Photo via Asia Bradlee

While it’s always best to have the Thanksgiving staples—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce—it doesn’t hurt to bring something new. This year, try this butternut squash farro.

Farro is an ancient grain with a texture similar to risotto once cooked. As a whole grain, it contains plenty of protein, fiber, magnesium, and iron. The farro is mixed with butternut squash, which is full of Vitamin A, calcium, and antioxidants that may protect against heart disease with their anti-inflammatory properties. Mixed into the dish are crunchy pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, which contain fiber and magnesium. Chickpeas also add some plant-based protein.

Butternut Squash Farro


  • 1 1/2 cups farro
  • 1/2 butternut squash (you can often find the halves pre-peeled at the grocery store)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp fresh thyme, depending on your taste preference
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the farro in a strainer. Once washed, add it to a pot with 4 cups water. Bring the farro to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Let it cook for 25-30 minutes or until tender. If there is still water in the pot when it’s finished, simply drain it.

While the farro is cooking, chop the butternut squash into small pieces. Toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Bake the butternut squash for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

While the squash is cooking, coat the chickpeas with a tablespoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of garlic powder, the onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste. After the butternut squash is cooked, roast the chickpeas for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

In a large bowl, mix together the farro, butternut squash, pepitas, and cranberries. Toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the fresh thyme. This dish can be served warm or cold.