This is a chewy, vibrant, satisfying Fall salad. It’s a bright and fresh way to use butternut squash during a season when the food can get a little heavy and rich. If you've never roasted grapes, this is your chance! They become extra juicy, slightly shriveled, and their flavor intensifies with the caramelized sugars. The sweetness of the grapes and roasted squash is offset by the nutty bite of sherry vinegar and pickled red onions to produce a salad that is balanced, hearty and addicting. Make this salad for potlucks, as a fresh new side for the Thanksgiving table, or for the sole purpose of having the best lunches for the rest of the week. Enjoy!
butternut squash salad with roasted grapes and farro
serves 6- 8 | recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 small red onion, finely diced (3/4 cup)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/2” cubes (about 4 cups)
5 tbsp + 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided (plus more if needed, for dressing)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups (300 g) seedless red grapes
1 1/2 cups farro
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
1/2 bunch parsley, washed, patted dry and chopped
3/4 cup feta
In a small bowl, whisk sherry vinegar, water, salt and sugar together until dissolved. Mix in onion and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, if possible, to soften the bite of the onion.
cook squash, grapes, and farro:
While onions pickle, preheat oven to 400°F.
On an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, add butternut squash cubes, 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss squash to coat evenly and roast in the oven, 30- 40 minutes. Halfway through roasting, flip squash with a spatula, and continue to cook until soft and beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and transfer squash to a large bowl.
On the same baking sheet, toss grapes with 1/2 tsp olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast grapes, shaking the pan once or twice to roll them around, until the grapes begin to burst and shrivel, 8- 10 minutes. Remove from oven and combine with squash.
While the squash and grapes are roasting, cook farro in a large pot of simmering salted water until grains are tender but chewy (follow directions on the package for exact cooking times). Drain, cool slightly, then transfer to bowl with squash and grapes.
make dressing + assemble salad:
Using a fork, remove pickled onions from vinegar brine and place in large bowl with squash, grapes and farro, along with pecans and parsley. Add 3 tbsp vinegar brine and 3 tbsp olive oil to mixture, toss, taste and add more brine, olive oil, salt or pepper to taste. When ready to serve, sprinkle feta crumbles over the salad, toss, and enjoy.
Salad can be eaten right away, but it lasts up to a week. I prefer it at room temperature, but it can be served warm or cold as well.