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Farro with Winter Vegetables and Watercress

Farro is an Italian whole grain rich in tension-relieving magnesium. It adds a nutty crunch that complements soft-roasted root vegetables. Watercress gets its peppery zing from rich sulfur compounds, which help rid toxins from the body. Serve this grain-based salad warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash, about 1 1/2 lb. (750 g), peeled,
      seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste, plus 1 tsp.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups (11 oz./345 g) farro
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) water
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 oz. (125 g) watercress leaves

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, toss the squash and parsnips with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring once, until the vegetables are tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the farro, water and the 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the squash, parsnips, dried cherries, parsley and the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil and stir to combine. Add the watercress and gently stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014).