Roast Chicken Salad with Butternut Squash and Farro

I’m setting myself up right for healthy eating this week.  I already have a refrigerator full of delicious items from Chef Grifka at for that extra helping hand at eating healthy.  Ok, I have a little bit less than a refrigerator full – the breakfast quinoa and spinach and garbanzo soup were DELISH!  Check her site out and order some food this week.  Or next!

Shaving the butternut squash
Shaving the butternut squash

I wanted to keep the healthy trend going. Chef Grifka has an all vegetarian menu I believe, with some items gluten free and vegan.  I’ve also been doing “No Booze January” this month, in addition to starting training for doing a part of El Camino de Santiago this May.  Today I did a 13.5 mile hike in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, followed by a surprise Power Yoga class.   Let’s not forget all the hard work I did at Boot Camp last month before the holiday onslaught.   It’s all healthy healthy healthy today, and that includes the chocolate Muscle Milk, blueberry, peanut butter smoothie I made when I got home from the hike and yoga.  Mmmmm….I could use one for dessert right now.  But that is not what this post is about!

Shredded rotisserie chicken
Shredded rotisserie chicken

This post is about a recipe I tore out of a Men’s Health Magazine of all places!!   The January issue had a section dedicated to eating raw foods to help jump start a healthy new year.  Their recipe for Roast Chicken Salad with Butternut squash and Farro looked pretty darn tasty, so I tore it out and vowed to make it.  Tonight was the night, with the healthy planets aligning and all.

The article asserted that peeled and thinly shaved veggies like butternut squash and turnips didn’t need to be cooked because they would be sweet and tender and perfect for a protein-rich winter salad.  It sounded like something right up my ally.  I love those veggies and haven’t ever had them raw.  The trick was just to shave them thin enough, which turned out to be easy enough to do with the peeler I have.

Getting the grapes and parsnips ready
Getting the grapes and parsnips ready

I can’t find a link to the article on-line so I will just reproduce the recipe for you below.   The only modifications I made were doubling the recipe to make sure I have leftovers going into the week.  I also used fresh squeezed OJ from Cara Cara oranges.  Man  – I love Cara Cara oranges!!





Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash and Farro

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgen olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups roughly torn rotisserie chicken (skin and bones removed)
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and shaved
  • 3 cups peeled and thinly shaved butternut squash
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3 oz soft goat cheese crumbled

1) Place the farro in 3 cups of water (or chicken broth for more flavor) in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain and cool.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, OJ, cumin, ginger, salt, and pepper

3) Add the farro, torn chicken, parsnips, squash, grapes to the bowl; toss everything to coat with the dressing.  Top with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

The finished salad!
The finished salad!

The article indicates that this could be served on a bed of baby kale for even more super nutrition.  I have some and might try it next serving, but it was super delicious as it was.  The shaved veggies were indeed sweet and tender, and worked great  with the sweet, spicy, dressing of OJ infused with ginger and smoky cumin.   I’m really happy with this recipe and even a bit surprised – no offense Men’s Health but you’ve had a LOT of misses when it comes to recipes.

You could even serve this with baby kale, but it's great just like this!
You could even serve this with baby kale, but it’s great just like this!

I’m going to enjoy this all week on and off.  The article says that with every bite I should be getting carotenoids, that will reduce cancer and heart disease, combined with protein from the chicken and fiber-rich parsnips and farro.  I’m just going to say I’m getting a fork full of a darn good dish!


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