The inspiration for this salad came from a September Saturday morning farm stand hop and the purchases I made along the way: a beautiful head of radicchio from The Grey Barn and an assortment of new fall squashes from Morning Glory Farm, Ghost Island Farm, and The Grey Barn.

But the roots of this kind of dish thread back to the recipes I developed for my vegetarian cookbook, Simple Green Suppers, and even before then to my fondness for warm vegetable salads. Turning a warm salad into a vegetarian meal seemed to make sense to me – add grains and nuts and dried fruit and you’re good to go. This was before the popularity of “bowls.” Instead of a bowl, I like to arrange the ingredients for these bodacious salads on a platter so that the layers get spread out and not piled on too deep. Having a light hand with the grains is especially important; they should be more like a condiment than a space hog. (I also like a platter because I am usually sharing my salad with someone else!)

Lastly, my warm salads that evolved into main-dish grain and vegetable salads have now entered the Ottolenghi era. Lately I have been re-reading (or re-oogling the pictures) in his cookbooks late at night when I can’t sleep. I’ve noticed that he’s not shy on the chunky size of his vegetables. So what the heck, throw squash rings or wedges into the mix. And while we’re at it, this salad’s got an Ottolenghi-inspired Double Lemon Tahini Dressing to go with.

But seriously, just use this recipe as a template; it’s simply a compilation of some other favorite recipes and techniques, arranged in one place to get you started. Be sure to toast your nuts for the best texture and flavor, and try using a combination of two or more different kinds of nuts. I've left chickpeas out of this recipe, but you could certainly include some, especially if you roasted or sauteed them first to brown them.

I suggest making everything ahead (and having ingredients at room temperature) except for the roasted squash, which you can cook as you’re gathering everything else together and add to the salad warm. In the squash recipe linked below, the ingredients call for 3 to 4 pounds squash. For this salad you can err on the side of less and cook 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of squash (about 3 small acorn or dumpling squash).

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish

  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Double Lemon Tahini Dressing (you may not use it all)
  • Radicchio, endive, frisée and/or hearty lettuce leaves (enough to cover a medium-large platter, preferably a mix of red and green leaves
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • ½ cup (or more!) coarsely chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts or a combination
  • MV Sea Salt
  • 1 recipe Maple, Vanilla and Cardamom Glazed Acorn or Delicata Squash Rings (or any recipe roasted squash pieces; you will want about 16 half-rings or wedges of skin-on roasted squash; more if using smaller pieces)
  • 1 small handful whole small mint, cilantro, basil or parsley leaves


1. In a bowl, toss the farro with a little bit of kosher salt and 1 to 2 tablespoons Double Lemon Tahini Dressing. Set aside.

2. On a medium-large platter, arrange the greens first around the edges (alternating red and green leaves is nice), and then fill in across the bottom.    

3. Sprinkle 1 ½ cups of the farro over the greens, leaving some of the greens poking out around the edges. Top with half of the cranberries and half of the nuts. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over all.

4. Arrange the warm roasted squash on top of the other ingredients and sprinkle with the remaining farro, the remaining cranberries, and the remaining walnuts. Sprinkle on a bit more sea salt.

5. Drizzle several tablespoons of the dressing around the edges of the platter over the greens and then over the squash and farro.

6. Garnish with fresh herb leaves and bring the remaining dressing to the table with the platter.