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Healthy Meal Prep Farro Salad with Rosemary Pecan Pesto

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This fall-inspired healthy meal prep farro salad has delicious flavors and textures from roasted sweet potatoes, tangy dried cranberries, toasty nuts, and an herby rosemary pecan pesto dressing. The best part is that this meal prep doesn’t just get tastier over time–it actually gets BETTER for you, too (hint: it’s one of my favorite blood sugar hacks!). Enjoy this as the perfect fall meal prep for lunch and dinner or as seasonal side dish at gatherings!

I’ll take any reason to eat leftovers, but here’s a really good one: the cellular structure of the sweet potatoes and the farro in this salad actually change when they’re cooked and cooled. They basically become blood sugar-balancing and microbiome-balancing super foods, which scientists refer to as resistant starches. Resistant starches are a special type of fiber that forms when you cook and cool certain carbohydrates and have amazing impacts on blood sugar and the gut.

Creating healthy meal prep recipes that incorporate resistant starch is one of my all-time favorite wellness hacks for better energy and sleep, alongside eating green starters and doing the apple cider vinegar trick! If you’re like “wait, what?”, listen to this top-shared episode of the Healthier Together Podcast with the Glucose Goddess.

So in honor of the fall season, we’re kicking things off with a healthy meal prep salad that’s super cozy and bursting with sweet, tangy, nutty, herby and garlicky flavors. This flavor explosion will make you feel SO energized, thanks to the resistant starch, making it the perfect fall salad for your meal prep repertoire.

And if you’re looking ahead to the fall and winter holidays, this is the perfect healthy side dish to serve your friends and family. Give this healthy fall salad a try the next time you need some fall meal prep ideas. I have a feeling you’ll make this one on repeat.

Everything you’ll need to make farro salad

This healthy meal prep farro salad is packed with all of the fall textures and cozy flavors you’re probably craving as the temperature is dropping! Sweet, tangy, nutty, herby–here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

For the resistant starch: We cook then cool farro and sweet potato to give this salad a boost of plant based protein, hearty texture and a healthy dose of dietary fiber and prebiotics. If you’re gluten free, you can swap the farro for quinoa!
For the salad: you’ll need spinach, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries!
For the pesto: we’re making a fall-inspired pecan rosemary pesto made with lemon, fresh rosemary, and parmesan cheese. If you’re vegan or dairy free, simply omit the cheese. It’ll still taste incredible!
Pantry staples: you’ll need sea salt and olive oil (find out which are the healthiest olive oils here!)

What is the best olive oil for your health?

I recently sat down with longevity expert, Dr. William Li, on the Healthier Together Podcast. We talked about many things, but one that sparked a lot of question was the healthiest olive oil brands. I highly recommend listening to the full episode, but have outlined some of my recommendations to add to cart:

Podcast pairings

While you cook this delicious fall salad, listen to these Healthier Together Podcast episodes for a deeper dive into this recipe’s amazing health benefits (and a good time).

How to Hack Your Blood Sugar

Ask the Doctor: Diet and Weight Loss Myths

Healthy Eating Q’s, Answered: Inflammation, Weight Loss, Hormone Health & More with a Functional RD

The Future of Gut Health with Dr. Will Bulsiewicz

What to Eat for Longevity

Easy ways to customize

You can make this healthy meal prep farro salad perfect for your own dietary needs with some simple swaps. Here’s a few ideas:

  • For vegan and dairy free: simply omit the cheese in the pesto. It’ll still be delicious without it!
  • For gluten free: swap the farro for quinoa. It won’t have the same exact texture, but it will have nutty flavors to compliment the pesto AND the resistant starch rule still applies.
  • For dried fruits: I think cranberries give this farro salad the perfect taste of fall, but you could also use dried cherries or chopped dates in their place.
  • For a protein boost: with the farro or quinoa as the base of this recipe, you’re already getting a great amount of plant based protein. But to make this even more of a high protein meal prep, you could add some crispy roasted chickpeas (simply seasoned with salt and pepper) or add some shredded rotisserie chicken on top.

Store this farro salad for later

Like I said, this salad gets healthier as it sits in the container and will actually be delicious over the course of a few days after farro marinates in the pesto! Store your meal prep in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. It’s delicious cold, but if you want to heat it up, just microwave it at 30-second increments until heated through or in a pan with some olive oil on the stove top.

More fall meal prep recipes:

Brussel Sprout and Thyme Rissot-ish

Roasted Vegetable Sheet Pan Salad

Butternut Squash and Rosemary Soup

The Easiest Hash Ever

I hope you love this Farro Salad with Rosemary Pecan Pesto! Enjoy, and tag me if you make it on Instagram (@lizmoody)— I can’t wait to see!

Print
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Healthy Meal Prep Farro Salad with Rosemary Pecan Pesto


  • Author: Liz Moody

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups rinsed and drained farro
  • 1 large peeled, cubed sweet potato 
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (omit if vegan!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more to toss sweet potatoes and cook farro
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + more to toss sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Boil a large pot of water with add a generous amount of salt, then cook the farro like pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans in an even layer on the sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Pour the pecans into a bowl and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 425F, and toss the sweet potatoes onto the baking sheet with olive oil and salt. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto by adding ½ cup of the toasted pecans to a food processor with garlic, lemon, spinach, rosemary, parmesan (if using), salt, and olive oil. Blend until mostly smooth.
  4. Roughly chop the remaining ½ cup pecans. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked farro and pesto. Gently stir in the roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator until serving. To heat it up, microwave it at 30-second increments until warmed or heat in a pan with olive oil.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4

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  1. Cgw says:

    This is DELICIOUS! As a college student these meal prep recipes are so convenient to make for the week. I added roasted brocolli that i had. I will be making this on repeat all fall!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey there,

      I’m so glad you love the recipe! Adding broccoli sounds delicious.

      xo, Liz

  2. Tisa says:

    This was fall in a bowl! Absolutely beautiful to look at and delicious when inhaling! I followed the recipe exactly except that I only had 3 cups of pearled farro on hand. So I was a bit short on that. I had never used “sprigs” of rosemary before but I went out to my plant and cut 4 – 3″ sprigs from my plant and used that amount. I wasn’t sure how long they were supposed to be but I could taste the rosemary in the pesto. Yum! I believe that you could also use some butternut squash in this recipe if you didn’t have any sweet potatoes. Thanks Liz for a big ole bowl of deliciousness!!!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey Tisa,

      I’m so glad you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing. And I agree that butternut squash would also be delicious in this.

      xo, Liz