The Autumn Harvest Grain Bowl is a hearty, nutritious, and versatile dish perfect for back-to-school meals. Farro, a chewy ancient grain full of fiber and protein, pairs well with the seasonal ingredients of butternut squash and apple. The dish can be enjoyed hot as a grain bowl or cold as a salad, making it a flexible option for different meal times.
Additional Tips and Variations:
Cooking the Farro
- If you can find pre-cooked farro or quick-cooking farro, it can speed up the preparation time.
Fruit and Vegetable Choices
- If you can’t find butternut squash, sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute.
- Pears can be used instead of apples for a slightly different fruit flavor.
- If you’re looking to add protein to this dish, grilled chicken, tofu, or chickpeas are all excellent options.
Spice it Up
- You can add some chopped garlic to the sauté pan along with the onions for extra flavor.
- Consider adding a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg when adding the maple syrup to bring out the autumn flavors.
- This dish can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you’re planning to enjoy it as a cold salad, make the vinaigrette ahead and toss it in when you’re ready to eat.
- For an extra layer of flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette.
- This grain bowl can be garnished with nuts like toasted almonds or pecans for crunch.
- A sprinkle of feta or goat cheese can also add a lovely creamy texture.
Portioning for School Meals
- The recipe can easily be divided into smaller containers for a school lunch. If serving cold, you can keep the vinaigrette in a separate small container to prevent the farro from getting soggy.
- Add more colorful vegetables like chopped spinach or kale for additional nutrients. You can sauté them along with the butternut squash and onions or stir them in fresh at the end.
- 2 cups of Farro
- 2 apples, diced small
- 1 red onion, diced small
- 2 cups of cubed butternut squash
- Half-bunch of parsley
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1.5 teaspoons of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil for cooking
- Half-cup of dried cranberries
Vinaigrette (makes 1 cup of mixture):
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
- In a medium saucepan, cook the farro in boiling water (use 2 cups of liquid for each cup of dry farro).
- When the liquid in the farro is almost gone, turn off the heat and cover the pan.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, cubed butternut squash, and diced onion. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
- Add the diced apples, cooked farro, salt, and pepper to the sauté pan. Sauté for an additional minute.
- Deglaze the pan with lemon juice.
- Add in the chopped parsley and maple syrup. Turn off the heat and let the mixture stand for 2 minutes.
- Mix the ingredients well and serve the grain bowl hot.
- If desired, you can prepare an optional vinaigrette for a cold salad. Whisk together maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Fold the vinaigrette into one cup of the chilled farro mixture.
Whether you serve it warm for dinner or pack it as a cold lunch, this Autumn Harvest Grain Bowl is sure to be a hit with both kids and adults. It captures the essence of fall with its vibrant colors and flavors, and it’s as nutritious as it is delicious. This autumn harvest grain bowl is a delicious and nutritious option for school meals or post-class dinners. Enjoy the combination of farro, butternut squash, apples, and other flavorful ingredients!