Farro with roast pumpkin

This pumpkin and farro salad makes a great side for slow-cooked meats.
This pumpkin and farro salad makes a great side for slow-cooked meats. Photo: Marcel Aucar

This roast pumpkin dish makes a great accompaniment to slow-roasted meats, such as lamb shoulder. Middle Eastern delis will have shanklish cheese and baharat spice mix. If you can’t find farro, brown rice is an excellent alternative, and goat’s cheese can be substituted for shanklish.


1 cup farro  

2 tbsp Pedro Ximenez sherry 

150ml extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tbsp

2 red onions 

600g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into thin wedges

pinch chilli flakes

salt and pepper

2 lemons, juiced

2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal

1 cup coriander leaves, coarsely chopped 

50g shanklish cheese


Place the farro (or brown rice) in a saucepan. Cover with plenty of water then bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender (I don't add salt to the water when cooking grains and pulses as it can toughen them).

Drain, then while the farro is warm, stir in sherry and one tablespoon of oil. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cut the onions into wedges, trimming the root end but leaving enough intact so the onions won't break apart, and place in a large bowl with the pumpkin. Add a tablespoon of oil and toss to combine. Put the vegetables in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with the chilli flakes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 30-40 minutes until tender.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly for five minutes.

Place the lemon juice and remaining olive oil in a jar, season with salt and pepper, seal then shake well. Combine the farro, roasted vegetables, green onions and coriander then dress with the lemon dressing, taste and season before serving.

Place on a serving plate and crumble shanklish cheese over the top.