Winter Squash Grain Bowl with Lemon Tahini Sauce / by Chelsea Zwieg

Hello! I'm back (a few days later than planned. oops.) and back with salad no less. Considering every single recipe I have posted in December so far has been a dessert, I figured now might be a good time to toss in some veggies. That and I had 3 colossal caramel corn failures in a row yesterday so I am clearly not fit to give you any recipes/tips/words on that front. So salad it is! Also, someone tell me how to make caramel corn, please. It just shouldn't be that hard. 

So how was everyone's Christmas? Absolutely wonderful, I hope! Mine was so so great. Full of really good food, Christmas pajamas and constant reminders that I really do have the BEST family in the world. I'm sure that plenty of people think they have the best family there is, but much like people who think their dog is cuter than mine, they are sorely mistaken. I just feel so fortunate to live so close to most of my family after having lived miles away for way too long. I also feel fortunate to be able to pull all the muscles in my stomach from laughing so hard every time they're around. And to play Speak Out with them until I laugh/cry all my makeup off and can no longer breathe. And that pretty much sums up my Christmas right there. 

And now I'm living that post-Christmas life which mainly includes listening to Christmas music with a blatant disregard for the date on the calendar and cleaning out my fridge and pantry of all the random food nubs that have settled there over the holidays. Things like a homeless pomegranate and half a bag of spinach. I'm assuming many of you are in the same position which is why I am here to suggest the ultimate kitchen scrap meal: a grain bowl. I like to use farro but any grain (quinoa, barley etc.) will do. Toss it together with any and all veggies you can find, a little bit of cheese and a bright and tangy dressing and you are golden for lunch, dinner or anytime you might be hungry in between. 

This bowl is filled with acorn and carnival squash (any skin-on squash will work. Butternut or spaghetti not so much.) and brussel sprouts that are roasted with oil, maple syrup, mustard and spices. They come out of the oven perfectly browned, a little sweet and plenty spicy. They get added to a farro and spinach mix, topped with crunchy pomegranate seeds, salty feta (or goat cheese) and a tangy, garlicky lemon tahini sauce. If you leave the dressing off until right before serving, this salad makes fantastic leftovers which is perfect for any holiday-cooking hangovers you might be facing. 

Winter Squash Grain Bowl with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Serves 4

| Ingredients

  • 2 small squash (acorn, carnival, delicata etc.), sliced
  • 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. stone ground mustard
  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 5 oz. spinach, roughly chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate 
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese or feta crumbles

For the Lemon Tahini Sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425. Place the sliced squash and brussels sprouts in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, pepper, salt and mustard to combine. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  • Transfer the veggies to a large sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Roast 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10, until the squash is tender and the brussels sprouts are browned. 
  • Meanwhile, bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the farro, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the farro is tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain the farro and transfer to a large bowl. Immediately add the spinach and toss to combine. The heat of the farro will wilt the spinach. Stir in the pomegranate seeds.
  • To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • Once the veggies have roasted, add them to the salad along with the feta. Drizzle with lemon tahini sauce, to taste, and serve.