This harvest bowl is a healthy, yet fully satisfying, bowl of farro, veggies, fresh figs, and crumbled blue cheese. Butternut squash and farro can be prepped ahead of time, if you prefer a no-cook meal. It pays to plan ahead, no?
To build a bowl that showcases the bounty of an Italian harvest, we started with farro, an ancient Mediterranean wheat grain with a pleasant chew and nutty flavor. For our Italian farmers’ market–fresh vegetables, we loved the contrast of bitter radicchio alongside sweet roasted butternut squash. Ripe figs gave our harvest bowl a honey-like and slightly nutty flavor. A scant 1/4 cup of blue cheese on top lent just enough pungency to balance out the sweet and bitter ingredients. As a finishing touch, we whipped together a quick and simple balsamic vinaigrette, emulsified with sharp Dijon mustard. Any type of fresh fig will work in this recipe.–America’s Test Kitchen
- 1 cup (1/2-inch) cubes butternut squash
- Table salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups cooked farro* cooled to room temperature
- 1/2 (5 ounces) head radicchio cored and cut into 1-inch (25-mm) pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 4 fresh figs halved and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the squash in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
- Divvy among individual bowls then top with roasted squash, figs, and blue cheese. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Devour.
*What is farro?A fiber and protein-packed whole grain, farro has been around for 17,000 years. Yeah–peeps have been eating it for that long so it must be good, right? It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture and makes a pretty good replacement for rice in soups, stews, casseroles, and grain bowls. Farro comes in 3 types, depending on how much of the outer husk has been removed. Think of it like rice–pearled has had the outer husk buffed off, like white rice. Whole farro is like brown rice, with the outer husk intact. Semi-pearled is in between.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Move over, Caesar, this harvest bowl is my new favorite salad. The blend of chewy, nutty farro, bitter radicchio, mellow roasted butternut, bright parsley, and fresh fruit make this an utterly satisfying and complete meal. Anything topped with blue cheese is a winner, and the dressing is wicked simple and the perfect counterpoint to this salad.
There were no figs to be found so I used a red pear; a nectarine or a peach would be just as good. Even a couple of plums would work. I topped it with gorgonzola and used a bit extra to make it spectacular. This bowl made a delightful lunch on Sunday afternoon, and there was enough left over for me to take to work on Monday. It was still fresh and delicious. This harvest bowl will be a regular in my kitchen.
Farro is such a delicious, nutty, toothsome base and can support weightier and more intensely flavored ingredients so I made the additions of caramelized red onion wedges and roasted shiitake mushroom caps, roasted alongside the butternut squash cubes. I tossed them in the vinaigrette along with the farro, radicchio, and parsley. It was a great combination of flavors.
My family voted that this harvest bowl goes on the "rotation" list of recipes from Leite's Culinaria, but we all agree that in the future we will forgo the radicchio in favor of family (and budget) friendly arugula. And since blue cheese is divisive in our family, we will either try a milder gorgonzola dolce or maybe just goat cheese. Not very Italian, but delicious nonetheless.
I served it with sliced, grilled pork tenderloin rubbed with herbs and olive oil. My kids and husband added their pork to the bowl. I kept my harvest bowl vegetarian. I added a handful of toasted, chopped walnuts to my bowl and absolutely loved the crunch it provided.
Originally published August 19, 2021