This Roasted Butternut Squash Fig Pomegranate Whole Grain Salad is a stunning addition to any holiday menu.
Recently, I finished an 11-week Bible study with an amazing group of ladies. I really enjoy doing Bible studies because it forces me to sit still and reflect on my life and check myself to see if I am being the best person I can be. Of course, the answer is always no, but I learn something about myself each time, and what I need to improve upon. This particular study really made me think about my purpose in life. Honestly, I haven’t figured that out yet, and every time I think I do have it figured out, something changes and I feel like I’m starting at square one again. One thing is for sure though…I do believe God has a plan for me and that I just need to be patient and keep my eyes and ears open until I see a clear path to follow.
I made this Roasted Butternut Squash Fig Grain Salad for our last evening together. We’ve got a big group, roughly 40 women, so I made a big batch. To be honest, the reason there are so many different grains in this salad is that I was cleaning out my cupboard and found little bags of barley, farro, sorghum and quinoa. Barley (I used quick cooking) and farro cook in about the same amount of time, so I cooked them together. Sorghum takes about 50-60 minutes to cook until it gets tender, and quinoa takes about 20 minutes.
I happened to have some dried figs that I thought would be a nice addition to this salad, but they were too dry to toss into the salad, so I stewed them, along with some dried cranberries, in apple cider. They plumped up nicely, especially after I let them continue to sit in the liquid after cooking. The reduced apple cider was a great flavor addition to the salad in the end and added some moisture too. To make this extra festive, I used a generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.
Everyone really enjoyed this hearty salad and wanted to know how I made it. Honestly, I started with a stuffing recipe I found on Cooking Light, which morphed into this jewel toned grain salad. I had notes scribbled all over the recipe because I added so many other ingredients as I went along. So, ladies, if you’re reading this post, here is the recipe. This makes a huge batch, so cut the recipe way down for a smaller group.
- 4 cups butternut squash, but into ½" cubes
- 2 cups carrots, cut into ½' pieces (I used rainbow carrots for more color)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup dried figs
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups apple cider
- 4 cups cooked barley
- 2 cups cooked farro
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups cooked whole sorghum
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1½ cups pomegranate seeds
- juice from one clementine
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together butternut squash, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place carrots, remaining tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper in the bowl; toss together, then spread in a single layer on another baking sheet. Place both baking sheets in the oven. Roast carrots about 20 minutes, until tender; roast butternut squash 20-25 minutes until tender.
- Place figs, cranberries and apple cider in a saucepan; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes; turn off heat and let sit until you are ready to assemble the salad. When ready to use, remove figs from reduced apple cider and cut off stems; cut figs into quarters. Reserve reduced apple cider and cranberries.
- Place cooked grains in a large serving bowl and toss with olive oil, vinegar, parsley, thyme, pomegranate seeds, clementine juice, roasted butternut squash and carrots, figs, reduced apple cider and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
MORE WINTER WHOLE GRAIN SALADS: