Farro Pilaf with Cranberries and Walnuts

Farro Pilaf with cranberries and walnuts is a tasty side dish, “stuffing” for a turkey and can even be served as a cold salad! It’s vegan too!

Farro Pilaf with Cranberries and Walnuts in bowl

Shhh…I’m messing with tradition. Just in case my family reads through this post before Thanksgiving, I want to assure everyone that we will have several kinds of stuffing: the original bread-based version, Vegan Stuffing Muffins, and this version!

Why so many? Well, I (and many others) love stuffing (memore than the main attraction.) We always make double what we need so we can sit down with a big bowl and call it a meal the next day. Let’s face it, stuffing really is a meal in and of itself often with all the main food groups covered.

But, all that bread can be overwhelming, even if you opt for the whole wheat kind. So, since I discovered farro, I’m going a whole new route.

What is farro and how do you cook it?

The star of this dish is the ancient grain farro.

I’m a newish convert! It’s been around a long time and I see why it has made a resurgence in popularity. It tastes good!

The slightly nutty and chewy texture is perfect for a salad, pilaf or stuffing. We used it to make Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash.

There are nutritional benefits too including that it’s a good source of protein, fiber, and iron. Note that farro is a grain and is NOT gluten-free.

There are several forms of farro: pearled, semi-pearled and whole. The less-processed the grain, the more health benefits. I used pearled farro (the most processed choice)…and 1/4 cup still boasts 5 grams fiber and 7 grams protein.

A pile of uncooked farro

To cook farro, bring a pot of water to a boil, add farro to the pot, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. The water will not be completely absorbed so drain off excess liquid.

Make ahead tip: Cooked farro stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Ingredients in Farro Pilaf

In addition to farro, ingredients used in the recipe are:

  • Walnuts – Toast walnuts in the pan that will be used to make this dish. It adds about 5 minutes to the cook time. But, toasting the walnuts releases the oils and deepens the flavor. It’s worth it! Almonds can also be used.
  • Onion – Soften diced yellow onion in olive oil.
  • Celery – Cook diced celery at the same time as the onion.
  • Dried cranberries – Add a pop of sweet flavor in this savory dish with dried fruit like cranberries, raisins or even apricots.
  • Thyme – Fresh or dried thyme flavors season this recipe.
  • Apple cider vinegar – stir this ingredient in at the end.

Farro Pilaf in large bowl with wooden spoon next to it

How to serve Farro Pilaf or Stuffing

Stuff the bird with this beauty or enjoy it as a warm side dish. Either way, it’s sure to be a hit.

Follow this guidance from the USDA regarding Turkey Basics: Stuffing if cook the stuffing inside the bird. The internal temperature (of the stuffing and not just the bird) needs to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The nice thing about farro pilaf is that it tastes delicious hot or cold, like a salad.

Farro pilaf actually tastes better the longer it sits and marinates. It’s a good thing too because I plan on sitting down to a big bowl on Black Friday. 🙂

In fact, it can be bottled up in mason jars, just like we do for Vegetable Rice Pilaf and enjoyed for lunches all week long.

Farro Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts in bowl

How to freeze Farro Pilaf

We suggest preparing the recipe without the toasted walnuts. Mix everything together and store in a plastic freezer bag. Try to remove as much air as possible before sealing it up.

Use the recipe within two months of freezing. To defrost, move the bag to the refrigerator overnight. Or, defrost and cook in the microwave. Prepare and add the toasted walnuts before serving.

Please rate this recipe and tag @DinnerMom or #DinnerMom on social media. We love to see what you are cooking up!

Farro Pilaf Recipe with Cranberries and Walnuts
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5 from 2 votes

Farro Pilaf or "Stuffing" with Cranberries and Walnuts

Enjoy Farro Pilaf with Cranberries and Walnuts as a side dish or as stuffing. It's a healthy twist on a holiday dinner staple that doesn’t sacrifice any flavor.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 248kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Farro
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Cook farro according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat frying pan over medium high heat, add walnuts and toast for about 5 minutes or until lightly fragrant, stirring constantly.
  • Remove walnuts from pan and chop. Add walnuts to bowl with cooked farro.
  • Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.
  • Add onion and celery to pan and saute for about 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Add cooked onion and celery to bowl with farro and walnuts.
  • Stir cranberries, thyme and salt into the farro mixture.
  • Toss farro mixture with apple cider vinegar.
  • Use stuffing in any recipe that calls for stuffing or serve as a warm or cold side.

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2.6% | Vitamin C: 5.3% | Calcium: 3.7% | Iron: 8.1%

 

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Healthy Farro Pilaf with cranberries and walnuts is a side dish,

Comments

  1. That is a gorgeous stuffing recipe! I love farro also and just started using it over the summer for salads. I will definitely give this recipe a try!

  2. Without a doubt, I can, easily, see me sitting down to a huge bowl JUST FOR ME on Black Friday!

  3. Oh Marjory, what a great looking stuffing. I have never used farro before, I have to hunt it down for sure.

  4. Always looking for new uses for Farro. This looks so good.

  5. What a healthy fats for the stuffing and so pretty too!

  6. What a great side dish, Marjory. Never mind the family if they decide they don’t want to give it a chance. More for us!

  7. I have never worked with farro before, but I heard it has a fabulous nutty flavor so I know this stuffing would be amazing!!

  8. I’d be happy to eat a whole batch of this farro stuffing…it looks spectacular. Huge farro fan here!

  9. Think the ancients got it right with Farro. And so did my young friend, Marjory, with her genius stuffing recipe. I’ve really got to try the grain…Do you think it’d be a good substitute for oats? P.s. This Tuesday you’ll see a version of your great pumpkin muffins featured on my site =)

  10. This is totally my style of stuffing, YUM!

  11. If I didn’t have celiac, I’m pretty sure I would be a huge fan of farro!

  12. I’m a farro freak! Now that Halloween is over, I can’t stop thinking about all the great side dishes I’ll be making for Thanksgiving. My family always relies on me for the veggie sides, and this is definitely going on my “to try” list. Thanks!

  13. Interesting! I bake with all kinds of ancient grain flours but I never cook with them. Did your package say what type of farro it was (einkorn, spelt or emmer)? I’m just curious. 🙂 Looks great, whatever type it is. 🙂

  14. This is my kind of stuffing! I love the texture and taste of farro. Great idea to use it as a stuffing side dish!

  15. Farro is my favorite grain, so you know I have to add this to my Thanksgiving menu! Of course, like you, I’ll still be making a (at least one) bread stuffing as well.

  16. This stuffing looks amazing! I love farro but never seem to cook it too often at home. This recipe might change that! This makes me really excited for the holidays!

  17. I just love this healthy alternative to stuffing! Fabulous!

  18. Such a great idea! I want to make 2 dressings for Thanksgiving too!

  19. I love this! Stuffing is my favorite!

  20. Loving that you used Farro for your stuffing!

  21. Love this idea! Definitely going to consider this for the Thanksgiving table 🙂

  22. Oh i used to love farro before i discovered i need to be gluten free but love this dish and would gladly make it for my hubby!

  23. I love farro and this recipe sounds amazing! I can see making this a regular at my house

  24. Farro is one of my favorite grains to cook with and I know my family would love this stuffing. That being said, there has to be a dish of the original bread stuffing, too! 🙂

  25. I love stuffing and this sounds like a delicious new version for me to try, thanks!

  26. I have never tried farro, but this recipe has certainly inspired me to do so! I always serve my traditional southern cornbread dressing, but what a lovely side dish this would be.

  27. I can just imagine how good all of these flavors taste together! Love the healthy stuffing idea!

  28. I love love LOVE me some farro and this is such a fun twist on your traditional stuffing 🙂

  29. Ginny McMeans says:

    This is a fantastic kind of switch out for Thanksgiving. I will still have my mushroom dressing side dish but this farro one might just be right next to it.

  30. I’m *very* new to the world of grains (other than rice) and I’ve got to try farro sometime soon. You make it look amazing!

  31. Such a creative spin on stuffing! Great dish for vegetarians, too. I usually spend most of Thanksgiving scoping out which sides don’t have meat in them!

  32. This is a wonderful and healthy substitution!! Why your family wouldn’t embrace this is beyond me. It’s beautiful, the flavors must be amazing! Give it here. I’ll eat it in 2 minutes, flat.

  33. I love that you used farro in this recipe! Totally delicious.

  34. This sounds amazing! Would definitely love this on my Thanksgiving dinner table.

  35. I love farro! Was a great way to change up a Thanksgiving side.

  36. I love farro. And this is such a great combination of flavors. Perfect for this time of year!

  37. I’m ready for a big bowl of this stuffing!

  38. I just tried farro for the very first time about a month ago. This would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

  39. I think you should mess with tradition all the time. This is spectacular. I love farro, especially with fruits and nuts in it. Fabulous!

  40. Farro is fantastic, I never thought to use it in a stuffing. Looks incredible!

  41. I could make a meal of this stuffing! I like the idea of having two kinds of stuffing on the table.

  42. This would make a perfect lunch too! Yum

  43. Looks delicious, definitely going try it!

  44. Thanks for sharing. This is a perfect side dish to serve to our extended family on Thanksgiving!

  45. This is such a nice change from the traditional bread stuffing for Thanksgiving! Thanks for a great recipe!

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