Dinner of collards, acorn squash and farro

When your CSA gives you collards and acorn squash, here is a nice way to combine them and call it dinner in very early fall (resistant to summer ending!)

Truth be told I was not pleased to see acorn squash in my CSA bag because I am not a fan. The traditional way it has arrived on my plate has been cut in half and roasted with perhaps a knob of butter and some brown sugar. Boring and regrettable texture. Turns out slicing and roasting makes them palatable. Are they crave-worthy? Hardly! But if you want a nutritious orange vegetable, it’s a fine contender, especially when there is honey (maybe try maple syrup?) and salt. And other ingredients.


Acorn squash





Optional: sage and/or njuda or sausage (to add to collards), 

pepitas, feta


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Get the collards going — fill sink/bowl, shred and swish and let sit to drain any soil

If you want to use vegetable stock to braise the collards, get it out now if frozen to defrost the container in a bowl of water, and then dump frozen stock into pan to thaw/heat.

1. Collard greens, one bunch — soaked/rinsed and torn or cut into ribbons (rolling leaves after cutting in half and slicing)

2. Farro — 1 c rinsed with 3 c water, bay leaf and pinch of salt. Bring to boil covered, then simmer covered for 30 mins. Drain. This can sit and wait for the other components.

3. Acorn squash — ends cut, then cut in half lengthwise, then into slices and de-seeded


onion, 1/2— cut into half moons

Garlic, 2 cloves, sliced thin

Heat large-ish sauté pan that has a lid, add olive oil, and when hot add onion and salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook several minutes until softened, and then add garlic and cook for a minute or so. 

Add collards, S&P and some stock. Cover and cook for several minutes. Then stir around and perhaps add more stock. Cook for around 20 minutes until softened. A splash of apple cider vinegar or perhaps lemon juice is a good idea to brighten.


Mix in bowl: Honey, olive oil, S&P — mix about 1 T honey with 2 T olive oil. Stir with whisk to combine. Put in sliced squash and spread mixture onto slices.

Take out baking pan and smear on some olive oil thinly. Drop on squash slices. 

Bake about 20 mins, flipping mid-way approx, until tender. 

Assemble in bowl:


Squash slices



Pepitas would be nice


Skillet collards and squash

Collard greens with farro

Honey-roasted acorn squash

Nicoise-ish Salad with farro

When you want a substantial dinner salad in August, Nicoise is the way to go. Feeling like farro rather than lettuce, I put this together. I boiled eggs and green beans in the morning and made dressing. Anchovies in the dressing makes for less bracing eating. 


Shallot, small, diced and macerated in red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for 10-15 mins

Garlic, 2 cloves, grated


Anchovies, minced

Lemon juice and perhaps some zest as well


Olive oil


Cook ahead:


Hard boiled egg

Par-boiled green beans

new potatoes, boiled I salted water, peeled after boiling, and sliced — let them sit in some dressing ahead of time

Tomatoes, cubed or cut however you want; cherry tomatoes are also fine in addition

Tuna — Ortiz jarred in oil is very good

Oil-cured or nicoise olives pitted


Red peppers, julienned, or even green if they’re not bitter

Capers, rinsed

Basil, chiffonade or perhaps some parsley on top of salad

Farro salad with zucchini and onions

In July the zucchini and summer squash is starting to come in full-bore and you’re going to want to figure out uses. It’s fairly flavorless in my view and unexciting. One option would be to make fritters because everything fried this way is good. Another would be to grill or roast some zucchini slathered in a modified pesto of basil, garlic and oil. In July there is: basil, fresh onions, zucchini, parsley and beets. Put them together with farro for a satisfying salad, as follows.

Ingredients/Parts of the whole:


Lemon, shallot, mustard vinaigrette and maybe some garlic too.

Roasted zucchini and fresh onions

Basil, garlic, oil topping — whizzed in mini chopper

Toasted walnuts

Roasted beets


Oil-cured black olives

Parsley, chopped


  1. Beets. Roast beets. 400° in foil for 1 hour. Place packets on oven rack and baking pan underneath to catch drips.. Check with knife (through file) that they are tender. Open packets carefully to not get burned on steam. Peel when cool.
  2. Farro. Rinse 1 c farro and place in medium saucepan with salt, bay leaf and 3 c water. Bring to boil and cook at simmer for 30 mins. Drain. Spread out on baking sheet to cool.
  3. Soak zucchini in water 1/2 hour — to remove grit from laying on top of soil.
  4. Toast walnuts on sheet pan in oven for 6 mins. (Longer if lower temp.)
  5. Mix in mini-food processor: basil, garlic, oil, S&P.
  6. When beets are done, turn up oven temp to 435°. Slice zucchini lengthwise, and lay on oiled sheet pan. Cut onions in half or into thick slices. Layer on basil mixture. Roast for 20 minutes, checking after 15 to see that they are not burning underneath; move in pan if need be. Roast for another 5 mins or so; maybe more for the onions. 
  7. Shred feta. Smack olives with knife and remove pits. Place walnuts in parchment paper, and roll rolling pin over them to crush somewhat. 

Assemble in large-ish bowl:

Farro, sprinkled with parsley

Zucchini and onions on one side of bowl. Beets on another, olives have another spot. 

Sprinkle all with feta and walnuts, and spoon vinaigrette over all. Not too much — there’s lots of oil in the zucchini and onions. 

Farro salad — the best yet!

Farro, 1 c, rinsed

Apple cider, 1 c

Bay leaf

Rinse farro and put in pot with bay leaf, apple cider, 2 t salt, and 2 c water. 

Bring to boil covered, then simmer covered for about 30 mins until tender. 

Drain and spread on sheet pan to cool. (May want to chill a bowl for assembly if you are in a hurry!)


radishes, sliced thin

Cauliflower pieces or cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Basil, parsley and/or mint — a very hearty amount (choose parsley or basil)

Pistachio nuts, chopped

Feta or parmesan, shaved


Lemon juice

Good mustard (or skip)

Olive oil — 4 x lemon juice

Salt & pepper

Mix vinaigrette into farro with cheese and pistachios. (This can sit for 4 hours at room temp, or in refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temp before proceeding.)

Add arugula, herbs, tomatoes (or cauliflower), radish and fold in together. Sprinkle on Maldon salt. 


Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad by Melissa Clark, in NY Times cooking 


Roasted squash, onions, escarole with farro

A perfect fall dinner recipe when delicata squash abounds and I can’t get my fill of fall’s beautiful escarole!

Delicata squash, 1 reg or 2 small
Sweet onion, 1, sliced
Escarole, 1/2 head or more
Pecorino romano cheese, grated
Pepita seeds, or toasted walnuts


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and cook farro with salt. 1 c farro to 2 c water. Can make in rice cooker under quick setting (20 mins?) or on stovetop.

Delicata squash, rinsed, cut lengthwise and semi-peeled, remove seeds and fibrous insides with spoon.  Slice into <1/2” rounds. Roast on oiled pan for 20+ minutes, turning near end to roast on both sides. Take out and let sit.

Caramelize one sweet onion: Cut into thin slices, and cook in sauté pan with 1 T olive oil and salt, reducing heat and cooking until light golden, at least 20 mins.

Rinse escarole torn into half leaves. Cook with olive oil and red pepper flakes and splash of water and salt about 5 minutes until well wilted.

Combine squash and onions.

Mound farro. Then add squash and onions, topped with pepitas (or roasted walnuts) and grated Romano pecorino cheese.
Escarole to the side.

Feel virtuous and happy with a delicious and healthy fall meal.


Inspiration: The Kitchn
and Six Seasons — Delicata Squash “donuts” with Pumpkin seeds and honey

Farro salad

Room temp farro salad for lunchtime emergency feeding:


Cooked farro — 1 c farro cooked in 1 c apple cider and 2 c water; OR 1/2 c apple cider vinegar & 2-1/2 c water (can use less water and drain after cooking 25+ minutes. Put rinsed farro in pot with water and cider in pot. Bring to boil, and simmer covered for 25-30 mins.
Lemon vinaigrette — 1 lemon juiced, with 4x olive oil, S&P. Optional: minced garlic (Don’t need full quantity for this recipe)
Blanched broccoli or uncooked arugula
Parsley, minced (optional addition: mint)
Fresh tomatoes, cut up
Grated parmesan
Pepitas or pistachios
Optional: sliced radishes

Cook 1 c farro (rinsed) in 2 c water and 1 c apple cider (or 1/2 c vinegar and 1/2 c water) for 25+ mins. Drain if needed. Mix with lemon vinaigrette.

Blanch broccoli in pot of salted water for less than 5 minutes. Drain on sheet pan to cool. Cut up tomatoes.

Mince herbs — parsley and perhaps mint.

Mix together: farro mixed with vinaigrette, broccoli (or arugula), grated parmesan, tomatoes, pepitas (or pistachios)

optional: sliced radishes

Inspiration: Charlie Bird’s farro salad, NY Times



Green beans, farro & shrimp summer dinner

In July when green beans are at their peak harvest, quick sauté/braise stovetop with garlic scapes, new onions and almonds. Serve with farro and some easy oven roasted shrimp. Healthy, balanced meal that is also delicious!

Lay of the land:

You’re going to sauté green beans in olive oil after first sautéing garlic scapes and onions. Add beans, toss to cook quickly and then add water, cover and cook for 5+ minutes to crisp-tender. Remove cover and increase heat to boil away liquid. If you have pre-cooked farro (rinsed and cooked in 2-3x boiling salted water 20-25 minutes), you can heat it on one side of the pan while you finish cooking the beans. IMG_6035

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with pan in the oven to heat up. You will defrost and marinate some shrimp perhaps in an Asian-style marinade.

When you add green beans to sauté pan, remove shrimp from marinade with tongs and toss into oven for 8 minutes, turning with tongs halfway through.

Farro and asparagus dinner, or how not to eat pasta

Cooked farro, 1 c+
Asparagus 1/2 bunch, rinsed and cut into 2” pieces
Vegetable stock
onion, 1/2, diced
garlic, couple cloves, smushed
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated


Heat sauté pan, add coating of olive oil and then add garlic cloves and pepper flakes, reduced heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes, turning garlic so as not to brown. Remove garlic, and increase heat to medium.

Add onion and cook about 3-4 minutes until softened, adding Salt.

Add asparagus and cook about 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender, adding stock and covering pan with lid to cook, and mixing in cooked farro about 3 minutes before asparagus is cooked.

Remove cover and raise heat to reduce liquid. (Can if desired mix 1 t cornstarch or arrowroot with 1 T water to create sludge, and add 2 minutes before dish is complete to create thickened stock/sauce.)

Plate and grate on parmesan cheese. Yum!

Grains and greens bowl

Once you get a rice cooker, you may want to not stop exploring the universe of rice varieties (not to mention yummy steel-cut oats for breakfast). For such an exploration, here’s a recipe that combines farro and black forbidden rice, cooked separately and cooled on a sheet pan. Mix in roasted cauliflower, steamed dandelion greens with a champagne vinegar dijon vinaigrette, and it’s stick-to-the-ribs delicious! Gilding the lily with some sweet on-hand cherry tomatoes and pepitas. Roasted butternut squash and/or other winter squash in lieu of cauliflower is Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe.

Farro, 1 c
Black forbidden rice, 1 c
1/2 onion, chopped
Dandelion greens, 1/2 bunch, rinsed well and cut off tough bottom stems — steam in rice cooker for 10 minutes at end of one grain’s cycle
Cauliflower florets, roasted w/ olive oil, S&P
Vinaigrette made with champagne vinegar & mustard

Optional: cherry tomatoes
roasted butternut squash, sautéed first in butter in sauté pan


Cook two separate batches of farro and rice. When each is done, remove to sheet pan, spread out and cool. (Tip: tastier farro if you sauté onion in olive oil, then add in farro to toast for 2 minutes, and then add into rice cooker with water.)
At end of second cycle, lay in cleaned dandelion greens on steamer dish to steam during last 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put sturdy sheet pan in oven to heat up.
Roast cauliflower florets with olive oil, S&P for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice so they don’t burn.
Prepare vinaigrette: Put 3 T vinegar into Pyrex measuring copy and whisk in 1/2 t Dijon mustard. Add S&P, and whisk in olive oil. Taste with dandelion green and adjust to your taste.

Rice and faro in large bowl.
Mix greens in separate bowl with vinaigrette.
Put cauliflower on rice/farro, top with greens and vinaigrette. Add tomatoes and pepitas.

Serving the greens and cauliflower while still warm is nice. And the room temp rice/farro is a lovely contrast.

source/inspiration: https://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/farro-and-black-rice-with-roasted-autumn-squash

Lentils, quinoa and roasted Brussels sprouts

Lentils, 1 cup
Quinoa, red, 1 c., washed well
Brussels sprouts
Honey or maple syrup
1/2 lemon
Garlic, 2 cloves
onion, 1/2, chopped
cumin, coriander, turmeric, Aleppo pepper
Hazelnuts, 1/3 cup toasted and chopped
Vegetable stock for cooking quinoa


1. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until done. Drain.
2. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, S&P and a splash of water. Cover and roast in 425 degree oven for 5+ minutes. Uncover, dump out water, and roast uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, taking out pan to shake and move around sprouts. Remove from pan to bowl and while hot, toss with honey.
3. Make pilaf with quinoa: Sauté 1/2 chopped onion in a medium saucepan with olive oil for at least 3-4 minutes until softened. Put in: cumin, coriander, turmeric and Aleppo pepper and then garlic and cook 1/2 minute until fragrant. Put in rinsed quinoa and cover with vegetable stock by at least 1 inch, cover and cook about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let puff up 5 minutes.
4. Toast and chop hazelnuts or almonds.

Lentils, quinoa, Brussels sprouts; drizzle with olive oil and lemon. Toss on top the chopped hazelnuts. You’ll probably want to add salt. Not bad!

Options: Skip lentils


Note: Could try heating up 1/2 block tofu for second act/leftovers, perhaps reheated with cumin or coriander.