These fall grain bowls are packed with seasonal produce like roasted delicata squash and sauteed kale, and they're topped with a delicious maple-tahini dressing. These bowls are perfect for meal prep and are easy to customize!
Whether you're looking for a nutritious dinner recipe or just want to enjoy all the produce that fall has to offer, I think that you'll love these fall grain bowls!
They feature roasted delicata squash, diced apple, sauteed kale and chickpeas, and a maple-tahini dressing.
I recently shared sweet potato quinoa bowls that were an absolute hit, and I've always loved tahini dressings, so these fall grain bowls are like a combination of those two recipes. But with a fall twist.
- Balanced and nourishing: Chewy farro is featured alongside roasted delicata squash, chickpeas, sauteed kale, diced apple, toasted pecans, and a maple tahini dressing.
- Straightforward: These grain bowls have a few different components but are overall straightforward and easy to make. While the delicata squash roasts, just saute the kale and chickpeas, cook the farro, and stir together the dressing.
- Great for meal prep: All of the components of these bowls can be made in advance. They make good leftovers and are great for work lunches.
- Versatile: Some of the ingredients like farro and delicata squash are less common, so I have a bunch of swaps listed down below.
- Farro: If you're new to farro, it's a chewy whole grain with a nutty flavor. For the quickest cook time, choose pearled farro. I use Trader Joe's 10-minute farro. Learn more about how to cook farro. (Yes, you can use another grain like quinoa or rice if you can't find farro!)
- Delicata squash: This is a variety of winter squash. I also find this at Trader Joe's, but it should be available at places like Fresh Market or Whole Foods (I haven't seen it at more general grocery stores like Kroger). It reminds me of a cross between acorn squash and butternut squash. The best part? The skin is edible!
- Tahini: This is just seed butter made from ground sesame seeds. You can find it in the sauce aisle, by peanut butter, or in the international aisle at most grocery stores.
- Red wine vinegar: This is used in the maple-tahini dressing and on the greens. Don't skip the vinegar, but if you don't have this kind on hand, you can use apple cider vinegar instead.
- Kale: I personally prefer lacinato kale (not the kind pictured) but curly kale also works. I had trouble finding lacinato kale for this recipe, and curly kale is a lot more common. Don't like kale? Spinach is a good alternative.
- Chickpeas are the main source of protein in this recipe. I usually cook my chickpeas from dry, but canned is the easiest option.
- Pecans and diced apple are toppings. Pecans add a touch of nuttiness and apple adds texture and sweetness. Choose a sweet variety of apple, like Pink Lady or Fuji.
Steps to make
Roast the delicata squash
Delicata squash does not need to be peeled because the skin is actually thin enough to eat.
The easiest way to prepare delicata squash is to slice it down the center length-wise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then place the squash so that it is cut-side down on the cutting board. Slice into ½ inch strips.
Place sliced squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Delicata squash is naturally sweet and flavorful, so it doesn't need much seasoning to shine.
Roast at 400F for just 20-25 minutes. Try not to overcrowd the squash on the baking sheet. Flip the squash halfway through for an even golden appearance throughout.
Maple tahini dressing
The tahini dressing is made by whisking together a few pantry staples. It should be thin enough to drizzle, but it won't be pourable.
For the best results, make sure to stir the tahini in the bottle before measuring it out. Like other nut and seed butter, the oils and solids separate in tahini, which can affect the dressing consistency if not stirred back together.
If the dressing isn't the right consistency, just add water 1 teaspoon at a time until drizzle-able.
Kale and chickpeas
In a medium skillet (I like to use my Caraway pans or cast iron skillet), heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the chickpeas.
Sprinkle with salt and saute until blistering and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and continue cooking until it is wilted.
Once starting to wilt, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Continue cooking until some pieces of the kale are crisp and all of it is wilted.
Variations, tips, and substitutions
- Can't find delicata squash? Butternut squash is a great substitute. Roasted butternut squash takes about 30-35 minutes at 425F. Peel it and dice it into ½ inch cubes.
- Don't like kale? Use spinach instead! I also find lacinato kale to have a better texture than curly kale, so if you can find that you might prefer it to curly kale.
- Farro substitute: Most grocery stores should have this grain, but if not (or if you want a gluten-free option) you can use white rice, brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.
- Nut-free: Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great option if you can't have nuts. They are also just a good option if you don't have pecans on hand.
Make ahead and storage tips
- Dressing: The tahini dressing keeps for up to a week in the fridge. I usually store dressing in small mason jars.
- Prep ahead options: The dressing can be prepped several days in advance. Farro can be cooked 2-3 days in advance and pecans can be toasted far in advance (I store them in the fridge to extend their shelf-life). I recommend dicing apple just before serving so that it doesn't yellow/brown.
- Storage: The grain bowls can be assembled 3-4 days in advance of serving, so they are great for meal prep. I recommend storing the dressing separately.
Looking for more grain bowls?
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Fall Harvest Grain Bowls with Roasted Delicata Squash
- 1 medium delicata squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Kale and Chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or other neutral oil
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch kale stem removed and leaves sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar see note #1
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 cup dry farro see note #2
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pecans
- 1 medium Fuji apple diced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. To prep the delicata squash, slice it in half length-wise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place cut-side down on a cutting board. Slice off the ends. Slice the squash into ½ inch strips.
- Place sliced delicata squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Roast at 400F for 20-25 minutes, until tender and golden brown. Flip halfway through for even cooking.
Kale and chickpeas
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Once hot, add the chickpeas and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Saute chickpeas for 5-6 minutes, until golden and blistering.
- Add the sliced kale. Stir occasionally, until starting to wilt. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.
- Continue cooking until all of the kale is wilted and some of the pieces are crisp.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, and soy sauce. It should be a smooth, drizzle-able consistency.
- If needed, add water 1 teaspoon at a time to reach a drizzle-able consistency.
- Cook farro according to package instructions. Cook time varies based on type of farro used, but the general method is to bring a pot of water to a boil, then add farro and ¼ teaspoon salt. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer until tender but still chewy, about 10 minutes for pearled farro and up to 40 minutes for whole farro.
- To toas tthe pecans, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and toast until golden, stirring occasionally. This will take only 4-5 minutes.
- Assemble the bowls by distributing the cooked farro, kale and chickpeas, roasted delicata squash, diced apple, and diced pecans between four bowls. Drizzle with tahini dressing just before serving. Enjoy!
- Red wine vinegar: Apple cider vinegar works if you don't have red wine vinegar on hand.
- Farro: Choose pearled farro if available as it has a quicker cook time than regular farro. I use Trader Joe's 10-minute farro.
- Leftovers and storage: These bowls can be assembled 3-4 days in advance of serving. I recommend storing the dressing separately. The dressing keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
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