Farro with Winter Greens, Beets and Feta



Thanksgiving is just days away.  How is the planning coming?   Is the turkey defrosting?  Did you purchase wine?  Have you thought about what needs to go in your oven?

That last question may be the most important. It’s one thing to plan the perfect Pinterest menu, but quite another to make sure that the items on that menu make it to the table at the same time on Thanksgiving day. After all, an ambitious menu requires a lot of pots and pans. Without turning your oven into a culinary version of Tetris, are you going to be able to fit everything?  


For my business, which focuses on cooking classes and in-home catering, I spend a lot of time brainstorming creative menus and then I spend even more time thinking about execution.  Do I have enough burners? What can be done in advance?  Can I get away with baking these three things at the same temperature? I find that creating a detailed scheduled helps highlight any potential problems and recommend that anyone attempting to cook for a crowd take the time to do this simple exercise.


And, if upon reviewing your menu, you find yourself considering the purchase of a new oven, consider this flavorful side dish instead.  While it has several components, both the beets and farro may be prepared a day or two in advance, which brings the prep time for this dish down to just minutes.  And perhaps best of all, with the beets roasted in advance, this recipe won’t require your oven on Thanksgiving.


This recipe is part of the menu for Minced Thanksgiving 2015. For even more turkey day preparation, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; I’ll be using the hashtag #mincedthanksgiving and hope you’ll use it as well to share any Minced blog creations, your favorite dishes, and your best holiday memories with me.

More ideas for Thanksgiving sides:
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Pine Nuts
Collard Greens
Hoppin’ John
Mushroom Risotto
Persian Jeweled Rice
Potatoes Anna
Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan
Kale Salad with Edamame, Dried Cranberries, Farro & Orange Vinaigrette
Braised Garlic and Green Beans
Sautéed Haricot Verts with Bell Peppers and Almonds
Stir-Fried Long Beans
Roasted Pumpkin with Sage, Brown Sugar, and Cinnamon


Farro with Winter Greens, Beets, and Feta – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 6 as a side dish

Roast the beets and cook the farro in advance to pull this flavorful side dish together quickly. When assembling, I like to sprinkle the beets and the feta over the dish. You can toss everything together, but be prepared for everything to turn pink thanks to the beets! While any winter green will work in this recipe, I’m partial to red chard.

For the Beets:
1 lb (about 3 medium) beets, trimmed and washed
Olive oil
Aluminum foil

For the Farro:
2 cups Italian pearled farro, rinsed
6 cups water

For the Winter Greens:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large bunch Winter Greens (Chard, Collards, and/or Kale), rinsed, ribs removed, and leaves finely sliced (chiffonade)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.   Place each beet on a square of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.   Wrap the foil around each seasoned beet and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until you can insert a skewer easily into the largest beet that you are roasting.   Allow to cool and then unwrap the beets, remove the skin using your fingers (use gloves if you don’t want the beets to stain), and chop into small cubes. Set the chopped beets aside or refrigerate if preparing in advance.

Add the water to a medium saucepan and salt it generously. Bring the water to a boil. Add the farro and reduce the heat to a strong simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes until al dente. Drain the farro and let cool.   Set the farro aside or refrigerate if preparing in advance.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the yellow onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.   Stir in the winter greens and cook, stirring often, until they have wilted and softened.   Add the farro and cook, stirring often, until hot. Season everything with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon the farro and greens into a large bowl and sprinkle the feta and chopped beets over the top. You can toss everything together, but be aware that your entire dish will quickly turn pink!   Serve immediately although I also enjoyed eating leftovers cold straight from the refrigerator.


  1. I just cooked my first farro (with kale and garbanzos) a few days ago–it is a marvelous grain. I happy to have discovered it. This sounds yummy–and since I have some beets on hand, and some kale….


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