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Roasted Butternut Squash Over Farro And Chickpeas With Toasted Cumin Yogurt Dressing

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One of my all time favorite vegetarian recipes is this fall dish filled with roasted butternut squash, farro grains, and chickpeas. With lots of ingredients that fill my void for fall foods and healthy vegetables, this recipe satisfies my seasonal cravings, plus it has this creamy cumin yogurt dressing that is easily addictive. Do you have dishes that you crave during the change of the seasons?

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Farro is a grain of wheat in its whole form. It's made in a similar way to rice but you must drain the water after cooking the grains. This recipe could also be made using wheat berries, like I use to make this Bacon, Cherry and Spinach Salad. With either grain, the result is a thick and chewy texture, like pasta al dente, and a great foundation for any salad or side dish. Combine the grains with some root vegetables, sauteed greens, or roasted tomatoes for a creative dish.

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My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the line up of delicious side dishes. This butternut squash recipe will be a tough competitor for the Roasted Grape and Wild Rice Pilaf that will also be at our table. The great thing about Thanksgiving side dishes is that they're make great fall meals as well.

This year we'll be enjoying a Thanksgiving with our friends in Utah. We will be sharing a friend's deep frier and frying our turkey. When we've done this in year's past, the aroma of fried turkey literally fills the neighborhood. It's quite intoxicating. When the big meal is over we'll put on Elf, our favorite Christmas movie and relax. The finale of our Thanksgiving weekend, our favorite Thanksgiving tradition, is Pie Breakfast. Pie Breakfast is a simple gathering of friends to have pie for breakfast, delicious right?! I can hardly wait! I'm a sucker for holiday traditions. What are your Thanksgiving traditions? I would love to hear more ideas.

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Roasted Butternut Squash over Farro and Chickpeas with Toasted Cumin Yogurt Dressing
Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided
3 garlic cloves; 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups semi-pearled farro
2 tablespoons chopped Cayenne chile or red jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:
Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook farro in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain farro and cool.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.