Sunshine Grain Salad with Apple and Squash

October 14, 2018

Farro grain salad with arugula, squash, apple and pumpkin seeds in a wood bowl with serving spoon and fork and side of dressing

Moving from summer to fall is so easy with a bright sunshiny salad, that wears UGG boots and blanket scarves.

Bringing a side dish? Often I offer because I can’t eat the main course. Sort of selfish, ya. Hah. But I haate feeling like the wet blanket that makes people cook someone outside of their go-to repertoire because of my diet preferences.

Fall Squash and Arugula Grain Salad

So I keep quiet, I’ll eat what I can and also offer to bring something! That way there’s something you can eat and you’re helping out. Win win.


This was the case for a baby’s first birthday this past weekend. So I brought a salad – to a pizza party. And people ate it! Sometimes people just want that little scoop on their plate. Lighten things up between slices.

Farro grain salad with arugula, squash, apple and pumpkin seeds in a wood bowl with serving spoon and fork and side of dressing

Currently I’m on a grain salad KICK. I think it’s because they’re filling. And have great texture. Those little pops. In an attempt to use what I had – apples, a delicata squash, and farro – I decided to go grain salad. It’s got trip-to-the-pumpkin-patch feel – carby with apples and squash but to lightened up – red onion, citrus, and crunchy pepitas


Give it a go – you can make the farro a day or so ahead if you’re gonna be short on time.

Grain and Squash Salad in a Wooden Bowl with serving set

If you’ve made it this far I want to add a little downer sidebar –

When you drive to eastern Washington and look at all the apple orchards in late winter, the trees are all bright white. At first I thought it was frost. I mean its cold, and why would the trees be…painted? Is that paint? And then you notice (mostly Hispanic, mostly seasonal) workers in what are essentially hazmat suits wearing respirators while they spray the trees. I’m sure it’s obvious where I’m going with this.

It’s gross. It’s sad. It’s freakin ODD. They look like exterminators or painters. Seeing a painter wearing protective clothing makes total sense. It doesssn’t make sense on farmers. Now – I don’t know what they are spraying. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions?

When you think of an easy grab-n-go, needs no preparation snack, apples are an obvious choice. Apple is the classic “healthy snack” – that apparently requires hazmat suits to grow.


I won’t drag this out – buy organic. That is the point. If not for yourself, for the seasonal worker who has to wear that suit so he or she doesn’t have lasting health impacts for growing your food. And – I’ll go out on a limb here – if the farmer has to wear a breathing apparatus to spray the tree, anything grown on that tree has the same chemicals inside it. **

Fall Squash and Arugula Grain Salad


Fall Sunshine Grain Salad with Arugula and Delicata Squash
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Chewy farro, peppery arugula, sweet squash and tangy citrus dressing - sunny salad gets a cozy fall sweater makeover. 

Course: Dinner, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dairy-Free, delicata squash, farro, grain salad, Salad
Author: Beth Pepin
For the Farro
  • 1 cup Farro
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the Squash
  • 1 Delicata Squash
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne (optional)
For Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (juice of one orange)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
For Salad:
  • 1/2 large apple, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup arugula (packed)
  • Pumpkin Seeds*
Cook Farro
  1. Instant Pot:

    Add ingredients, chose multigrain. (Should be 40 minutes high pressure).

    Quick release, or slow release if you want them to be more soft and split open - I like quick release. Strain Water and let farro cool.

  2. Stovetop:

    Follow package instructions. Let cool.

Roast Squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Cut squash in half and remove seeds and pulp. Slice in 1/2' thick rounds. (Leave skin on - you can eat it). Toss with olive oil and salt.

  2. Roast for 20 minutes - switch to broil and broil for 2 minutes. (The broiling is totally optional but gives nice texture and color!)

    Remove and let cool*

Make Dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk, shake, or blend!

Assemble Salad
  1. Add Arugula, apple, red onion, squash, farro and dressing to a large bowl and toss. Top with pumpkin seeds. 


*Pumpkin Seeds:

You can go straight seeds. The way I do them for salads is to toast them on the stovetop with olive oil and Everything Bagel Seasoning. If you don't have that, just do salt and granulated garlic. 

*Cool Squash:

Hey, we don't all day here! Transfer to a plate and put them in the fridge. Do the same with the farro. The goal is just to get them cool enough that they wont wilt the arugula and onions. 

**If you know what they are spraying – let me know! I don’t want to be an a** by ASSuming.

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