This Autumn Farro Salad was inspired by the simplicity yet robustness of a dish Diala tasted in Florence, Italy on her travels. This recipe is the perfect marriage of local ingredients, fragrant herbs, and rich flavour.

It is loaded with Superfoods like Squash, Olive Oil, Pecans, Walnuts, and Farro; an ancient grain packed full of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

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Four ingredients was all it took for me to fall in love with a salad in Florence. My friend Carlos, a Barcelona-born chef I met while in Lima, had given me a thoughtfully curated list of restaurants I had to try. His top pick was Trattoria Sergio Gozzi, right near Piazza San Lorenzo. The restaurant was busy at lunchtime with locals enjoying homemade pasta and bistecca alla Fiorentina, this city’s most iconic dish.

My friend Tyler and I shared a plate of picci (similar to spaghetti but thicker) with a garlicky tomato sauce, followed by a farro salad with white basil, tomatoes, and olive oil. Maybe the salad had a sprinkle of sea salt—who knows? But right then and there, I understood the power of just a few ingredients, if they are the best quality and cooked properly. In this case, the farro was perfectly nutty, doused with fruity olive oil. The basil had just been picked, and the tomatoes were sweet, plump, and all-round delicious. I didn’t need to look any further for a reason to love Florence. This autumn salad has a few more ingredients but holds the essence of fresh and local ingredients, laced with a bouquet of fragrant herbs and olive oil.

Excerpted from Diala’s Kitchen by Diala Canelo.

Copyright © 2020 by Diala Canelo. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin

Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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Autumn Farro Salad

Autumn Farro Salad


  • 2 cups (500 mL) farro
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) + ½ teaspoon (2 mL) sea salt, divided
  • 1 medium acorn squash, cut crosswise into 6 slices and seeds removed
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) + 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) pepper
  • 2 crisp apples (Honeycrisp, Gala, or McIntosh), cut in thin strips
  • 4 green onions (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup (125 mL) tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped raw pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped raw walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) balsamic vinegar


  1. 1 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 2 Rinse and drain the farro. In a large pot, bring the farro, water, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the farro is just tender, about 35 minutes. Drain any excess water and transfer the farro to a large bowl.
  3. 3 Meanwhile, place the squash on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt and the pepper. Roast until fork-tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Add to the farro.
  4. 4 Add the apples, green onions, pomegranate seeds, basil, parsley, pecans, walnuts, the remaining ⅓ cup (75 mL) olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Toss well to combine.
  5. 5 Enjoy at room temperature or cold. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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