Farro Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Almonds

This vegan stuffing stars farro, butternut squash and toasted almonds for an unexpected twist on a fall classic.

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We all know that stuffing is a must-have at a holiday dinner, but it’s also a perfect side dish to complement a variety of other dishes for regular weeknight meals. This vegan stuffing stars farro, butternut squash and toasted almonds for an unexpected twist on a fall classic. Farro, a hearty grain native to Italy and the Middle East, is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. Similar to brown rice and wheat berries in texture, farro has an earthy flavor and a nourishing chew; it's a bold choice for a nontraditional stuffing.

You can find farro in perlato (pearled), semi-perlato (semi-pearled) and whole varieties. While whole and semi-pearled farro will contain more fiber and nutrient-rich bran, it can be challenging to find them at regular markets. I call for the the pearled variety here, which still packs a whopping 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per 1/4-cup serving, because it is more readily available. If you can get your hands on the less-processed versions, you’ll need to add more water and increase the cooking time to ensure a tender grain. Like most side dishes, this tastes even better the next day — perfect for lunchtime leftovers.

Farro Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Toasted Almonds

Yield: 8 servings
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 cups pearled farro
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups diced peeled butternut squash
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

Bring vegetable broth, water and farro to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, then simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until farro is tender. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion, carrot and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add in the cooked farro, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of the reserved broth. Season to taste, adding more salt if needed. Stir in the almonds and parsley, adding in more reserved cooking liquid, if needed.

Spoon onto a platter or dish and serve.

Per serving: Calories 315; Fat 10 g (Saturated 1 g); Carbohydrate 46 g; Fiber 7 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 12 g

Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge ( delishknowledge.com ), a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their "Happy Weight." 

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