This farro risotto recipe is creamy, comforting, and filled with nourishing ingredients like whole grain farro, butternut squash, spinach, and fresh herbs. Farro risotto is easy to make on the stovetop and requires less stirring than regular risotto made from rice! Ready to eat in less than an hour.

White plate with butternut squash farro risotto garnished with fried sage leaves on a light grey backdrop

As a Registered Dietitian, I love to create recipes that feature whole grains you might be less familiar with, because they have so many nutrition benefits. Farro is my favorite whole grain to cook with – some of my favorite farro recipes are my fall farro salad, farro risotto with mushrooms and kale, and salmon and farro bowls.

This roasted butternut squash farro risotto, or “farrotto”, feels like a warm hug. It’s flavored with aromatic garlic, onion, thyme, sage, and rich parmesan cheese. You’ll cook the farro risotto on the stovetop with minimal stirring, then mix in chunks of roasted butternut squash. Top each bowl with crispy fried sage leaves when serving for a meal fit for a restaurant!

This recipe is vegetarian, nut free, and soy free. It serves four as a main dish, or six as a side.

Ingredients in butternut squash farro risotto

Here is everything you need to make this recipe:

  • Butternut squash
  • Pearled farro
  • White onion
  • Garlic
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Spinach
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon zest
  • Vegetable broth
  • Dry white wine (optional)

Kitchen tools needed

You can make farro pot either in a large saute pan or a stock pot. You will also need a good chef’s knife, a lemon zester, measuring cups and spoons, and a wooden mixing spoon.

butternut squash farro risotto ingredients measured out on a light grey backdrop

How to make butternut squash farro risotto

  1. Cut butternut squash into cubes and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the squash in the oven for about 25 minutes until fork tender.
  2. While the butternut squash cooks, prepare the farrotto on the stovetop. Heat up olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add diced onion, garlic, sage, and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the farro and let it toast for about 30 seconds. Add the white wine (or water), cooking and stirring until the farro has absorbed the liquid.
  5. Pour the vegetable broth into the pan. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan.
  6. Cook farro risotto for 35-45 minutes, giving it a good stir every 10 minutes.
  7. Farro will be tender yet chewy, and will have absorbed pretty much all of the liquid.
  8. Finish off the farro risotto by stirring in lemon zest, chopped spinach, and parmesan cheese. Stir in the roasted butternut squash cubes.
  9. To make fried sage leaves for serving, heat olive oil and salt in a small nonstick skillet. Place whole sage leaves in the heated oil and let them frizzle for about 30 seconds. Use a fork to turn them over and fry on the other side for about 30 seconds. Remove to a paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
  10. Serve butternut squash farro risotto garnished with one or two fried sage leaves and freshly cracked black pepper.
saute pan with butternut squash farro risotto and a wooden spoon

What to serve with farro risotto

Farro risotto can be served as a vegetarian entree or as a side dish. You could pair it with a protein, such as:

Or serve it up with a simple salad, such as:

Storing and reheating

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Reheat individual portions in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate. Heat for about 1 minute, or until warmed through.

Hands cradling a plate of butternut squash farro risotto

Questions about farro

What is farro?

Farro is an ancient whole grain wheat. It has a light brown color and oblong shape and looks similar to barley. Farro has a pleasant nutty and slightly sweet flavor.

Most farro found in stores is sold “pearled” or “semi-pearled”, meaning all or some of the bran is removed. This helps the farro cook faster.

Is farro gluten free?

No, farro is not a gluten free grain, since it is a part of the wheat family.

However, some people with gluten intolerance can tolerate moderate amounts of farro as it has less gluten in it than regular wheat! If you have Celiac disease, you should not eat any farro or gluten containing products.

Is farro healthy?

Yes, farro is a very nutritious whole grain to include in your diet. One fourth cup of dry farro provides:

  • 6 grams of plant-based protein
  • 5 grams of dietary fiber
  • 15 percent of your daily magnesium and zinc needs
  • 4 percent of your daily iron needs
  • 20 percent of your daily niacin needs

In terms of fiber, farro is higher in soluble fiber than other whole grains. This type of fiber has heart health benefits. Consuming 5-10 grams of soluble fiber per day can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Whole grain foods including farro contain an abundance of antioxidants. Long term consumption of antioxidant-rich foods may be protective against certain diseases.

Is farro healthier than rice?

Farro is a more nutrient-dense grain than both brown rice and white rice. Because farro is higher in protein and fiber than rice, it is an excellent choice for those who follow a plant-based diet (and for those who don’t)!

The following table is a nutrient comparison between one half cup of farro, brown rice, and white rice.

FarroBrown RiceWhite Rice
Calories170108121
Fat (g)1.510.2
Protein (g)1032
Carbohydrate (g)43.52227
Fiber (g)620.3
two white plates of butternut squash farro risotto, front plate with a silver fork

Butternut squash nutrition & health benefits

Butternut squash packs in lots of nutrition! One cup of cooked butternut squash provides:

  • 6.6 grams of dietary fiber
  • 1.8 grams of plant-based protein
  • 582 mg potassium (12 percent of your daily needs)
  • 1143.90 mcg Vitamin A (127 percent of your daily needs)
  • 31.0 mg Vitamin C (34 percent of your daily needs)
  • 59.45 mg magnesium (15 percent of your daily needs)

It is is also a good or excellent source of thiamin, niacin, folate, Vitamin E, and copper. Butternut squash is high in beta-carotene, an powerful antioxidant that gives squash it’s bright orange color.

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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White plate with butternut squash farro risotto garnished with fried sage leaves on a light grey backdrop

Nourishing Roasted Butternut Squash Farro Risotto

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This farro risotto recipe is creamy, comforting, and filled with nourishing ingredients like whole grain farro, butternut squash, spinach, and fresh herbs. Farro risotto is easy to make on the stovetop and requires much less stirring than regular risotto made from rice! Ready to eat in less than an hour.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, diced small
  • 1 tbsp sage, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/4 cup pearled farro
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or water
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 68 whole sage leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss butternut squash cubes in 1 tbsp olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Roast butternut squash in the oven for 23-27 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until beginning to brown and fork tender.
  3. While the butternut squash roasts, prepare the farro risotto on the stovetop: heat a 1 tbsp olive oil and salted butter in large saute pan or stock pot over medium heat.
  4. Once the butter melts, add the garlic, onion, sage, and thyme. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.
  5. Add the farro and stir it in with the onion mixture. Cook for about 30 seconds to toast up the farro a bit.
  6. Pour the white wine or water into the pan and cook, stirring a few times, until the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Pour the vegetable broth into the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
  8. Let the farro risotto simmer for 35-45 minutes, covered. Uncover and give everything a good stir every 10 minutes. Farro risotto will be done when farro is soft, thickened, and has absorbed a majority of the liquid.
  9. Stir in the lemon zest, spinach, and parmesan cheese.
  10. Taste and add more salt as needed.
  11. To make fried sage leaves, heat up a generous glug of olive oil (it should cover the bottom of the pan) over medium heat in a small nonstick skillet. Add a pinch of salt.
  12. Place whole sage leaves in the heated pan. They will curl up a bit on the sides – cook for about 30 seconds, then use a fork to flip them over, cooking for another 20-30 seconds.
  13. Remove the sage leaves onto a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
  14. Serve butternut squash topped with one or two fried sage leaves and freshly cracked black pepper.

Notes

Storing and reheating

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Reheat individual portions in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate. Heat for about 1 minute, or until warmed through.

Keywords: farro risotto, farrotto, butternut squash farro risotto