Farro with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale and Pomegranate Seeds

By • November 30, 2012 • 45 Comments



Author Notes: My Indian mother-in-law introduced me to the ins and outs of pomegranate peeling many years ago. She changes into old clothes and lays out a generous layer of newspaper (making sure everyone has finished reading it first) across the kitchen table, then sits down to work with a sharp knife, a bowl, and a rosy pomegranate. To her, the process is something to enjoy (spraying juice and all) and not to rush through. Like kneading dough or shelling fava beans, this is labor that leads to good things. Company is always welcome too, so grab an apron and wash your hands.

Earthy, nutty farro gives substance to this dish, which we enjoy as a vegetarian main course, but it's brilliant on the side as well. The sweet potatoes, onions, and nuts are roasted to add deep flavor, and the pomegranate seeds offer a gorgeous pop of color and a sweet-tart surprise in each bite.

Substitute spelt, wheat berries, brown rice -- even quinoa -- if you can't get your hands on farro. And if Meyer lemons are hard to come by as well, use ordinary lemon juice.
Ann S

Food52 Review: After reading this recipe, you might expect it to be quite earthy. You'd be right, but there is so much more going on here. The first taste delivers the earthiness, but then you get sweetness and creaminess from the roasted onions and sweet potatoes, a tender, leafy texture and savory hit from the kale and garlic, a blast of toasted nuttiness from the walnuts, and a zippy tang from the pomegranate seeds! The lemon juice brightens everything up, and the farro brings all of these mighty flavors together into one amazing dish. This will be making an appearance on my holiday table.
 
mamamarti

Serves 3 - 4 as a main course, or 6 as a side dish

  • 1 cup semi-pearled or regular farro
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion, halved and halves cut into 1/4 inch wedges
  • Salt
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/3 cup shelled, raw walnuts
  • 3 cups packed, roughly chopped kale (stems removed before chopping)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  1. Combine farro with 4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until grains are nearly tender (about 20 minutes). Add one teaspoon salt, stir and simmer until grains are tender (another 10 minutes or so). Drain excess water, then place grains into a large bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss onion with enough oil to lightly coat, but not soak. Spread across a baking sheet and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Toss sweet potato with oil in a similar fashion and spread on a separate sheet pan. Sprinkle with cumin, coriander and a pinch of salt. Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast until vegetables are tender and onions have begun to brown. The onions will be done before the sweet potatoes. Stir and turn vegetables at least once during cooking.
  3. When vegetables are nearly done roasting, spread walnuts on a third sheet (or in an oven-safe dish, if you've run out of baking sheets) and toast until they have darkened in color and are fragrant (place your nose close, but not too close, to the pan to take a whiff), about 5 to 8 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on the nuts as they will quickly burn in a hot oven. If you prefer, wait until vegetables have finished cooking and been removed from the oven. Turn the temperature down and toast the nuts. When nuts are done, cool completely, then roughly chop into small pieces.
  4. While vegetables and nuts cook, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add kale and garlic and lightly sauté until kale has wilted but is still bright green in color. Stir to cook evenly. Scrape cooked greens mixture into the bowl with farro. Add sweet potato and onion. Fold the ingredients together, then drizzle with a bit of fruity extra virgin olive oil to moisten (a tablespoon or so) plus lemon juice to taste (about one tablespoon, or less if you are using ordinary lemon juice). Taste and add more salt as needed, plus a few grinds of fresh pepper. Gently stir in walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Comments (45) Questions (1)

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7 months ago LazizaBites

excellent recipe…I subbed butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes, and sautéed shallots , red onion and garlic instead of baking them.

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7 months ago Jst123

This was a beautiful and delicious dish that my whole (!) family enjoyed. We used toasted pine nuts instead of walnuts.

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7 months ago kimberly

Here is a pomegranate tip if others are struggling with getting the seeds: Cut it in half as normal, push out the center a bit, then just start hitting the back of it with a wooden spoon. If done correctly, all the seeds should fall right out into the bowl.

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8 months ago jess

I've had this recipe on my list for a while and finally made it last night. It was delicious! The boyfriend was already talking about the next time we make it after the first bite. Thank you so much for this great recipe.

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8 months ago Tinaindenver

I made this tonight as a main course exactly as written and we thought it was very tasty, and not too fiddely either. I'm adding this to the rotation.

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8 months ago BeadsNWire

EXCELLENT! I have a package of Organic Nature's Earthly Choice Italian Pearled Farro that has a recipe for Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash on it. In that recipe, the squash and onions are roasted with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I used the balsamic in place of the spices, as I am not a huge fan of cumin. The dish turned out great! It's healthy, delicious, AND beautiful to look at! Thank you so much. I am certain this will be a fall/winter staple in my meal rotation. :)

Stringio

9 months ago Katrina Garza

Has anyone tried this with raw kale? It sounds amazing! I always bring my lunch to work and it's helpful to have something that doesn't need to be served warm.

Persimmons

9 months ago Ann S

I haven't tried raw kale, but this dish works well when made ahead of time and then served at room temperature.

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9 months ago Tracy

I stumbled across a great way to collect pomegranate seeds a few years ago and now I buy them all season. Get a big bowl of cold water. Cut the pomegranate in quarters (or smaller) then submerge in water and gently remove the seeds with your hands under the water. The seeds sink and the white pith floats. Skim of the pith then strain out the seeds. No spraying pomegranate juice all over or seeds flying everywhere. And even better, the kids love to help! Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks!

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9 months ago cilantro

Do you think you could substitute butternut squash for the sweet potato?

Persimmons

9 months ago Ann S

Absolutely!

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9 months ago Francoiseeats

I used toasted almonds since we ran out of walnuts, and it was still delicious. Great textures.

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about 1 year ago gibby99

Tasty tasty tasty. Coming off a week of too many wheatberries, I was hesitant to make another grain salad - but this is really good! I substituted halved red grapes for the pomegranate seeds.

Persimmons

about 1 year ago Ann S

What a great idea to substitute the grapes. I'll have to try that!

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about 1 year ago culture_connoisseur

Just bought some Farro from nuts.com. Making this today!

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about 1 year ago culture_connoisseur

Made it this evening and served it with poached fish and shellfish in oil and herbs. What a wonderful compliment, but I could eat this salad as a meal in itself.

Persimmons

about 1 year ago Ann S

Thanks so much for sharing your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed this dish—it's one of our family favorites.

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about 1 year ago culture_connoisseur

Thank you for sharing it. I just realized I forgot to add the lemon juice, olive oil and pepper at the end. And I didn't have any pomegranate seeds. It really was amazing without it, but I will try it next time.

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6 months ago Gayle Farmer

Could you substitute wild rice or maybe barley for the Farro? I can't find it at the store and I'm dying to serve this tonight!

Persimmons

6 months ago Ann S

I'm all for substituting what you have on hand--any whole grain should work. Barley, wheat berries or rice--try 'em! The dish will morph into something a bit different, but still yummy. Have fun. And as to craisins--go for it. I don't really think you can go wrong here.

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over 1 year ago Kalliope

Thanks--I think I'll try it with some chopped dried apricots, the really tart California ones.

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over 1 year ago Kalliope

Looks beautiful and sounds delish. But my grocer informs me that pomegranates are out of season. Anyone know of a sub?

Persimmons

over 1 year ago Ann S

You might simply skip the fruit and use more of the kale and sweet potato. Perhaps add a bit of lemon zest along with the juice. Or you could add some diced apple perhaps. Tell me how you improvise it--I'd love to know. On a positive note, it's nice that there are still a few fruits with a clear season that we can't fudge with long distance shipping. It's makes them all the more special :)

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6 months ago Gayle Farmer

How about 'Crasins'? Would that work?

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over 1 year ago Mianna

Yummy! Delicious combination of flavors - thank you..

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over 1 year ago LittleMissMuffin

Excellent!

Meg_b_f52

over 1 year ago meganvt01

This is truly fantastic! Made it last night and I am so looking forward to the leftovers today at lunch.

Persimmons

over 1 year ago Ann S

I hope you enjoy the leftovers. By the way, the sweet potatoes are pretty good by themselves too. Thanks for sharing your comments. They mean so much!

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over 1 year ago melanietia

I doubled the recipe and made it as a side dish for our Christmas party! I liked it so much that I made it again the week after for lunch. Thanks for sharing!!

Persimmons

over 1 year ago Ann S

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for sharing your experience with me!

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over 1 year ago christine delacruz

This looks amazing and I have every single ingredient without having to go to the store. I think I know what the showstopper is going to be at Christmas dinner - thank you for this fabulous recipe!

Persimmons

over 1 year ago Ann S

Thanks Christine. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!

Persimmons

over 1 year ago Ann S

Mamamarti, thanks for testing my recipe. And for your kind words. Happy Holidays!

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over 1 year ago mamamarti

The pleasure was mine, I'm sure! Thanks for sharing your lovely recipe with us. Happy Holidays to you, too!