Sheet Pan

Farro with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale and Pomegranate Seeds

March  8, 2021
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 3 - 4 as a main course, or 6 as a side dish
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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.
  —Marti Kennedy

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Meadow Lark
    Meadow Lark
  • Edward
  • LazizaBites
  • HolisticHunny
  • Katrina Garza
    Katrina Garza

57 Reviews

mellau037 October 1, 2020
Made this a couple times. Love it. This last time I added some raisins while cooking the kale and garlic. Was good
Sharon January 1, 2019
Wow, wow, wow! This was excellent. Beautiful dish, great texture, and great tasting.
nichol L. November 9, 2017
I made this last night and my "meat and potatoes" boyfriend tried to eat the whole thing! So hearty and healthy, yet bright and flavorful!
Lisa December 1, 2016
This is a great dish: delicious combination of healthy ingredients with perfectly fragrant yet gentle flavors. End result is umami in flavor, color and nutrients.
Meadow L. January 12, 2016
Pretty fabulous as a basis for something amazing. Because isn't that what we *all* do. ;)

Appreciate the inspiration. My subs included za'atar, pom molasses, yam and additions of red pepper flakes.
Kerry G. August 2, 2015
very yummy! I partially cooked the sweet potato before roasting, and then tossed it cubed in with the onions and the spices/salt/oil. I also roasted whole unpeeled cloves of garlic (and just squeezed out their soft roasted yumminess after they were done). I didn't have any pomegranate, but added dried tart cherries, and some sliced red grapes. Also added sliced radish and celery for crunch... I steamed the kale over top of the farro about 5 minutes before the farro finished cooking. oh, and goat cheese crumbled on top once all combined.
Edward February 27, 2015
I've made this salad numerous times already and every time it's a big hit! If someone happens to know the nutritional info it would be much appreciated!
Loretta N. February 27, 2015
This was great! I used Freekah instead of farro, pine nuts instead of walnuts, and, since I didn't have a pomegranate on hand, I used pomegranate molasses as a light garnish on top. Delish!
Edward February 11, 2015
Love this salad! Does anyone know the nutritional/ calorie count in this salad?
koc January 28, 2015
Delicious! I've made this several times now as written. Family and guests have all loved it. The bright, vibrant colors make it visually appealing as well!
Heather January 8, 2015
I love this. The balance of lovely, chewy farrow, sweet potato, greens, pomegranate, crunchy toasted walnuts and warm spices are so satisfying on so many levels of texture and taste. I felt like pinball machine being fed a lot of happiness from multiple directions. I added pomegranate balsamic vinegar and it seemed to work too.
Kaja1105 November 10, 2014
This is such a gorgeous and tasty dish. This year I started making it as soon as pomegranates and Meyer lemons showed up at the farmer's market. I used red onion for mildness and even more color and suggest cooking the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or so before adding the kale. Yum!
LazizaBites January 10, 2014
excellent recipe…I subbed butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes, and sautéed shallots , red onion and garlic instead of baking them.
Jst123 January 6, 2014
This was a beautiful and delicious dish that my whole (!) family enjoyed. We used toasted pine nuts instead of walnuts.
kimberly January 2, 2014
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.
jess December 13, 2013
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.
Tinaindenver December 1, 2013
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.
HolisticHunny November 24, 2013
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. :)
Katrina G. November 14, 2013
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.
Ann S. November 15, 2013
I haven't tried raw kale, but this dish works well when made ahead of time and then served at room temperature.
Tracy November 6, 2013
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!