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

A red and white bowl filled with cubes of squash, shreds of raddichio, slices of figs, crumbles of blue cheese, and farro.

Harvest Bowl

5 from 1 vote
Is there anything else like Italy in the fall? Not many of us have the luxury of strolling through the food markets of Tuscany in late September, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring those flavors together in the comfort of our own homes.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories281 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes


  • 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. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until combined.
  • In a large bowl, combine farro, radicchio, and parsley. Pour in half of the dressing and toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 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. 
Bowls Cookbook

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 281 kcalCarbohydrates: 38 gProtein: 5 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 3 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gCholesterol: 6 mgSodium: 286 mgPotassium: 367 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 10 gVitamin A: 4179 IUVitamin C: 13 mgCalcium: 96 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2019 America’s Test Kitchen. Photo © 2019 America’s Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

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.

A pottery bowl filled with a mix of radicchio, blue cheese, nectarines, parsley, and farro, with 2 serving spoons.

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. 

A white bowl filled with a mix of radicchio, blue cheese, squash, figs, parsley, and farro.

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.

This harvest bowl is a winner! I’m always looking for recipes that contain ingredients with which I’ve never cooked, and this one had three–farro, radicchio, and figs. There was a lot of prep work involved–roasting the squash, cooking the farro–but oh, the flavors were worth it. This may just get a spot at the Thanksgiving table this year.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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