This dish just screams “fall food!” It’s vibrant in fall colors, earthy, rustic, and packed with nutritious whole grains and plant love. I thought of this dish when I was prepping my menu for a cooking class, with the theme “Falling for the plant-based meal.” The same night I was making this dish, we were supposed to go out for dinner with some friends. But the day turned into a wet and rainy one, and we decided to forego walking around downtown Annapolis, and meet up at their house instead. Since I already had something made, I just brought dinner, and made a roasted purple cabbage salad with a toasted walnut balsamic vinaigrette (recipe will be posted soon!). It all made such a beautiful plate, and our friends loved it. I should really just bring dinner to friends’ houses when recipe testing, because that always give good feedback (I’m also not left with tons of leftovers for the next few days!).
A few things – if you’ve never heard of, or tried farro before, it’s awesome. Farro is an ancient wheat, and was used in a lot of dishes in Rome and Italy. It’s becoming more popular here in the States, with its texture often described as toothsome (chewier than barley and rice), and a whole grain that’s full of fiber and protein. It’s super-easy to cook – I buy the farro that is pre-steamed, also called “10-minute farro.” This type of farro is partially cooked, then dried again, which cuts cooking time down by more than half. While the farro simmers over the stove, roast your acorn squash. Then, when the farro is cooked, make the pilaf, which should only take 10-15 minutes. Assemble everything at the end, and sprinkle with as many pomegranate arils as you like.
I love this dish. It’s filling, comforting, and filled with holiday cheer. My cooking class loved it. Pair it with a smooth-bodied red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, for a really good meal. Also, this makes a great Thanksgiving or Christmas main dish for vegetarians, vegans, or omnivorous eaters alike – it’s definitely a show-stopper!