Roasted Butternut Squash over Farro and Chickpeas with Toasted Cumin Yogurt Dressing

Written by Becky

Fall cooking would not be complete with out butternut squash.  It has become one of my very favorite vegetables over the last few years and it’s a Thanksgiving side dish staple.  The sweet aroma of the butternut squash caramelizing in the oven, combined with the fresh tangy flavor of toasted cumin seeds and lemon in Greek yogurt dressing, makes for a delicious combination.  Plus it’s fun to try cooking a new grain like Farro.

Farro is a grain of wheat in its whole form. It’s made in a similar way to rice but you must drain the water after cooking the grains. This recipe could also be made using wheat berries, like I use to make this Bacon, Cherry and Spinach Salad.  With either grain, the result is a thick and chewy texture, like pasta al dente, and a great foundation for any salad or side dish. Combine the grains with some root vegetables, sauteed greens, or roasted tomatoes for a creative dish.
My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the line up of delicious side dishes.  This butternut squash recipe will be a tough competitor for the Roasted Grape and Wild Rice Pilaf that will also be at our table.  The great thing about Thanksgiving side dishes is that they’re make great fall meals as well.
This year we’ll be enjoying a Thanksgiving with our friends in Utah.  We will be sharing a friend’s deep frier and frying our turkey.  When we’ve done this in year’s past, the aroma of fried turkey literally fills the neighborhood.  It’s quite intoxicating. When the big meal is over we’ll put on Elf, our favorite Christmas movie and relax.  The finale of our Thanksgiving weekend, our favorite Thanksgiving tradition, is Pie Breakfast.  Pie Breakfast is a simple gathering of friends to have pie for breakfast, delicious right?!  I can hardly wait!  I’m a sucker for holiday traditions.  What are your Thanksgiving traditions? I would love to hear more ideas.
Roasted Butternut Squash over Farro and Chickpeas with Toasted Cumin Yogurt Dressing

Serving Size: serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves; 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups semi-pearled farro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Cayenne chile or red jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
  • 3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook farro in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain farro and cool.
  4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
  5. Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Comments (14)

  1. Wow! I want this for dinner tonight! I think I have everything on hand minus the chilis and cumin seeds. This flavor combinations sounds wonderful.

    I love butternut squash too! This will be a wonderful addition to Thanksgiving. So many great recipes going on right now on your blog. 🙂

  2. Can I just say that I love your traditions!! Pete worked on Elf and it's one of our favorites too! And pie for breakfast? Count me in!! I love this dish, Becky. Farro is so delicious and highly underused in my opinion. We're thinking of frying a turkey as well, have you done it before?

  3. I love everything about this recipe – the sweet butternut squash, toasty farro and savory dressing. Now, where on earth did you find the farro in Utah? I gave up looking for it about a year ago.

  4. Dara, I found farro at the Trolley Whole Foods and occasionally at Sunflower Market. I've also substituted it with wheat berries a few times.

  5. I have never had a deep fried turkey, but I'd love to try it one year. And I love the pie for breakfast tradition!! This side dish looks amazing. I'm so excited for Thanksgiving now!

  6. I love this untraditional traditional dish! 🙂 This year, we are meeting for our family Thanksgiving on the Saturday after. Since everyone will already have had at least one turkey dinner with all the fixins', we are going to go totally untraditional and have a sandwich buffet with macaroni and cheese (the later being a direct request from my four-year-old nephew).

  7. Eliot, thanks for sharing your traditions! I love the idea of having a non-traditional meal, especially the mac n cheese!

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