Fall farro salad with butternut squash.

I recently visited the East coast and decided to order the Fall farro salad (must be an East Coast thing) from various restaurants, from Nantucket to Miami!  This Fall farro salad and butternut squash with apple cider vinaigrette is the culmination of the best parts of every Fall farro salad that I've eaten.  It is definitely worth the extra labor and is amazing to serve for company, especially for the Holidays or if you need to bring a side dish to a Potluck dinner.

There are so many good things about this salad, but the best part about this salad is the deep-fried crispy leeks. So plan for it, because you won't regret making that extra effort!

I love this salad because it is a visually pleasing salad, and it's also, taste-wise, a very complex salad.  It has a variety of tastes and textures for the tastebuds with sweet, salty, "spicy", sour, soft, smooth and crunchy, making it absolutely divine!

Tips for making the farro salad and butternut squash with apple cider vinaigrette

What makes this salad stand out is the butternut squash flavor.  Many of the restaurants that served this salad just boiled the squash.  That's really boring!  Each chunk of butternut squash should be a prize, bursting with Fall flavor.  I roast the butternut squash will fall spices.  It tastes so rich that one thinks that the butternut squash is loaded with butter, but it isn't!  Roast butternut squash with spices that scream "Fall".  You can either use already cubed butternut squash or cut it yourself. It seems very daunting and dangerous, but it's really quite simple and so much cheaper! 

Roast the butternut squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes.  It should be cooked but firm so that it doesn't feel like a mushy salad!


A friend of mine introduced me to farro as a healthy BROWN rice alternative. According to consumer reports Per ½-cup serving, farro delivers more protein (about 3.5 g) and fiber (about 3.5 g) than brown rice.  It's great for a salad as it's firm and nutty.  It is also very easy to cook.  I cook it like pasta rather than rice so that you never burn the bottom of the pot and it's quite forgiving.



Other Ingredients

The other ingredients that are added are Mediterranean inspired with some pepitas thrown in.  I just like the combination of colors and textures that the walnuts, Feta cheese and dried barberries add.  For this particular Fall farro salad and butternut squash with apple cider vinaigrette, I incorporate dried barberries, or Middle-eastern zereshk. One of my middle-eastern neighbors brought rice with these barberries and I just kept picking them out to eat.  They are small and tart, just enough sour to make it interesting and an incredible addition to the salad!  However, if these are hard to come by in your neck of the woods, substitute for dried tart cherries, tart cranberries, dried pomegranate seeds etc. Just a word of advice, read the nutrition label.  A low sugar dried cranberry may be loaded with artificial sweeteners which defeats the purpose of a healthy, tart berry!


Zereshk, dried barberries

Deep fried leek garnish.

This is definitely the best part of the salad.  It's like crispy fried onions!  This is definitely the game changer.  For those who have never eaten leeks, they look like giant scallions.  They make a wonderful soup base and an excellent salad garnish!

Thinly sliced leeks.

Thinly sliced leeks.

I've tried many ways to crisp these leeks and the best way is to dredge them in a potato starch-salt mixture, a tip I adapted from making delicious crispy skin fried chicken wings.  Potato starch seems to yield a lighter end product than dredging in all-purpose flour, but AP flour will work in a pinch!

Fried leeks.

Fried leek garnish.

Apple cider vinaigrette

This tart dressing pulls the salad together.  The tart from the apple cider vinegar works well to complement the sweet butternut squash in the salad, so if you don't have apple cider vinegar, I would substitute it for a wine vinegar or rice vinegar.  Balsamic vinegar tends to be sweeter and richer which may be too much for this salad.

I hope you are as excited about this salad as I am.  It's a delicious and beautiful salad with all the Fall and Holiday colors.  It's one of those salads you can bring to a potluck and will be gone in no time.  I do suggest tossing the arugula and butternut squash right before serving!  Enjoy and Bon Appetit! 

Fall farro salad with butternut squash.


Michelle Sam
Delicious farro salad with all the delicious Fall ingredients like butternut squash, cranberries etc.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 291 kcal


Butternut squash

  • 400 g cubed butternut squash
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp ground all spice
  • ground black pepper for seasoning
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil


Other ingredients

  • 142 g arugula leaves
  • 25 g walnuts
  • 50 g Feta cheese
  • 20 g dried barberries other tart red dried berries can be substituted like cherries, cranberries, pomegranates.
  • 20 g pepitas

Apple Cider vinaigrette


  • 1 stalk leek
  • tsp salt
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • Oil for deepfrying At least a cup


Butternut squash

  • Preheat oven to 400℉ (204℃)
  • Cut butternut squash into cubes and set aside in a large bowl.
    400 g cubed butternut squash
  • Add spices.
    ¼ tsp salt, 1 tsp brown sugar, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ⅛ tsp ground all spice, ground black pepper, ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • Combine until spices are evenly distributed.
    Seasoned butternut squash.
  • Place on a foiled baking tray and bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked.


  • In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
    2 cups water
  • Add the farro and stir.
    50 g uncooked farro
    Cooking farro.
  • Cook for 20 minutes without the lid.
  • Drain through a seive and rinse with cold water to cool.
    Cooked and drained farro.

Crispy fried leek garnish

  • Cut the end of leek and just below the dark green leaves.
    1 stalk leek
    Thinly sliced leeks.
  • Cut the stalk in half length-wise.
  • Place the flat side on the cutting board and cut very thin strips.
  • Cut the strips to be 2" (5 cm) in length.
  • Place the leek strips in a bowl of water to wash any dirt.
  • Place on a paper towel to remove most of the moisture but not all of it.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine the potato starch and salt together.
    ¼ cup potato starch, ⅛ tsp salt
  • Dredge the damp leek strips in the potato starch-salt mixture.
  • Sieve out the excess starch mixture.
  • Deep fry in a small saucepan of medium oil until the leeks are crisp.
    Oil for deepfrying
  • Remove and allow the oil to drain on a paper towel.


  • Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Set aside until just before serving.
    1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ¼-½ tsp salt, fresh ground pepper


  • In a large salad bowl, drizzle the dressing along the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the arugula and butternut squash.
    142 g arugula leaves
  • Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients.
    25 g walnuts, 50 g Feta cheese, 20 g dried barberries, 20 g pepitas
  • Top with the crispy deep fried leeks. Enjoy!


Serving: 4gCalories: 291kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 7gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 546mgPotassium: 669mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 11533IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 189mgIron: 2mgNet Carbohydrates: 24g
Keyword butternut squash, farro
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
I want to see!Follow @Sammywongskitchen on Instagram or Facebook, snap a photo and tag it #sammywongskitchen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Rate this recipe

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Need meal ideas?