Farro with Chickpeas, Olives and North African Spices

Lately I've been all about olives. I go through phases with olives but lately, everything from the texture to the saltiness is just pleasing me completely. There's a bakery in New York that I absolutely adore called Eric Kayser that makes the most fabulous olive bread I've ever tasted. Olives get a bad rap sometimes but they're chock full of flavor and a good source of mono-unsaturated fat, vitamin E and antioxidants. And as with anything with such an intense flavor, a little goes a long way. You can learn more about olives here

I made this farro salad for brunch last weekend for some folks who eat a mostly vegetarian diet. I served it slightly warm and the flavors melted nicely together. This dish is loaded with fiber, protein, good fats, and vitamins A and C. It's hearty enough to be a main dish but can also work well as an accompaniment. 

• 1 cup canned chickpeas
• 1 cup farro
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/2 pound butternut squash, cut into one inch cubes and roasted
• 3/4 cup pitted green olives
• 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
• Juice of one lemon
• Salt and pepper to taste

North African Farro Salad


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place squash on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until squash has caramelized at the edges and is cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, place farro in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer and cover for about 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed and farro is cooked.
4. In a small bowl, combine turmeric, ginger, salt, cinnamon, red chili flakes and olive oil. Stir to make a paste and set aside.
5. In another bowl, add chickpeas, olives and lemon juice. Add cooked farro to that bowl once the farro has cooled. Add spice mixture and fold in to combine flavors.
6. Add squash once that has cooled.
7. Top with fresh, chopped cilantro. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.