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  • Vegan Recipe | Mediterranean Farro Bowl

    by Erin Griffin on October 3, 2013

    Farro is a delicious Italian grain that is hearty, filling and has a great texture. The flavors in this bowl are inspired by some of my favorite pizza toppings. This recipe can easily be scaled up or down, and is great warm or at room temperature (and would be great to haul to a picnic or party as it can sit for hours and still be delicious and fresh tasting).

    farro4 Note: farro is not a gluten free grain, while the gluten content is low if you need a gluten free grain try swap brown rice or quinoa and this dish is still hearty and delicious.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups farro
    • 6-8 cups veggie broth (water will do)
    • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
    • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
    • ¼ cup pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
    • ¼ cup chopped chives
    • ¼ cup chopped, fresh basil
    • 3 T nutritional yeast (optional – I love the cheesy flavor it lends to the salad)

    For the dressing/sauce:

    • 2 T oil (I like extra virgin olive oil for dressings)
    • 2 T balsamic vinegar
    • 2 T agave
    • 1 T Dijon mustard
    • juice of half a medium-sized lemon
    • ¼ t thyme
    • ¼ t oregano
    • ¼ t sea salt
    • a couple of twists of the pepper grinder (to taste)

    First, a little about farro: this is not the easiest grain to cook with, which has to do with the various types of farro you might find at the store (could be whole, semi-pearled, or pearled) which makes the cook time vary widely (from 15 to 90 minutes). If you’re not sure which you have, you can probably tell by how much of the white starch is showing through the brown hull.

    In the photo here, I have whole farro on the left (mostly brown) and pearled farro on the right (good bit of white showing through). The whole farro (which you’re most likely to find in a bulk bin at a health food store) is better for you, but can take up to 90 minutes to cook. The pearled version (which you’re most likely to find in a bag at any old grocery store, and will be labeled pearl) only takes about 15 minutes to cook, so it’s nice for a week night or a party dish in a hurry.

    farro1

    Here’s What You Do:

    Cook your farro according to package directions if you have any. If you have whole farro from the bulk bin:

    • Bring your water or stock to a boil (use at least 8 cups for 2 cups of dry farro)
    • Toss in your farro
    • Turn the heat to a high until it boils then turn it down to a simmer
    • Put on a tight lid and cook it for at least an hour, and possibly up to 90 minutes depending on the texture you like.

    Note: Farro doesn’t cook like rice, you will have water to drain off when it’s done (similar to pasta). Also, farro can be quite chewy, which I happen to love, but if it is too al dente to you, you can always cook it longer to make it softer.

    Once your farro is cooked, drain off the excess broth or water, put it in a large bowl and cool it for about 20 minutes in the fridge (until it’s just warm).

    While the farro is cooling, chop all of the mix-ins and make your dressing.

    farro2 For the dressing, I throw everything in a jar with a tight lid and then shake it for 30 seconds until it’s well blended. This dressing is also great on green salad.

    farro3 Finally, take your bowl of farro, toss in all the rest of the ingredients, including all of the dressing, and mix well.

    You can eat this warm with some greens on the side for a light dinner, or I like to take it to work and eat it for lunch five days in a row because I’m like that.

    About Erin Griffin

    Teaching and cooking are written in my DNA (thanks mom and dad). I finally relinquished myself to that fact in my early 30s and haven’t looked back. I read nutrition books for fun (like the science-y ones). I love mashing veggies for my 9-month-old while we sing along to 80s pop. And in my spare time I run The Yummy Kind, offering recipes, cooking classes, and nutrition education to anyone who wants to listen. You can find more information, and more of my recipes, at www.theyummykind.com.

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