Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Farro for dinner

Once during the work week my husband and I like to meet for lunch. I feel in love with a farro salad a local restaurant made. Each time we ate there I always ordered it. They typically change their menu with the season, which I think is wonderful, but it meant that I had to say goodbye to this lovely dish.

Tonight, however, I was missing the taste of farro between my teeth. Unable to satisfy my appetite by simply heading to a restaurant I decided to bravely make a dish without a recipe! For me this was a huge step. Never have I ever cooked anything without a recipe, aside from an omelet from time to time. And, if I don't say so myself, it turned out wonderfully!

Below is my attempt at creating a recipe for those who'd like to try it for themselves. (I apologize for the picture but I was so excited during the making and eating of this meal that I neglected to snap a photo until after the leftovers were being put away for tomorrow's lunch!)

Farro with Zucchini, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Heirloom Tomatoes
1 cup farro
5 cups water
1 zucchini sliced
about 6 shiitake mushrooms sliced
1 good sized heirloom tomato
1/2 can of white kidney beans
fresh basil
goat cheese to garnish

For Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 generous tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove
basil and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring farro, water and a pinch or two of salt to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 50-60 minutes. (These were the directions posted next to the bulk bin. After reading some other recipes for cooking farro I may try soaking the farro first before cooking as mine turned out a little chewier and the individual grains looked smaller than I remembered.)

While farro is cooking, saute zucchini and shiitake mushrooms for about 5-10 minutes and set aside. Core and cut tomato in small bite size pieces and set aside.

For dressing mix olive oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and a few leaves of basil and set aside.

Once farro is done cooking, drain off the water and put in serving bowl. Toss in zucchini, mushrooms, tomato, white kidney beans, and some more basil leaves. (I am a huge fan of basil!) Drizzle dressing over all and mix until everything is thoroughly coated.

Serve with goat cheese to garnish!

Serves 3-4 for dinner.

(We served this dish with fresh ciabatta bread and some butter. A fresh green salad would also complement nicely. Next time I might also try a citrus dressing instead. We'll see I'm excited to play with this recipe a bit more.)


  1. Wow this sounds yummy and fancy. You have more energy than I do when it come to preparing food, I need to be able to eat it first so that I actually have the energy to prepare it. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Will make this for us while you are here? And I am with Liz, what is farro?

  2. Actually this was embarrassingly easy to put together but I'm wish you, sometimes I feel like I need to eat first in order to have the strength to prepare the food. I'd be happy to make it for you while I'm in Denver. That is if I can find some farro there. The kind I used was a from a local farmer, Bluebird Grain Farm. Whole Foods or somewhere like that probably has some. To answer your question though, farro is a heirloom grain similar to wheat. In its berry form, which is what I used for this recipe, it cooks up pretty similiarly to rice. Farro can also be ground down into flour known as emmer which is great substitute for white flour. Tatiana and I made up some really great chocolate chip cookies using emmer flour once. Farro can be a good alternative option to those who have a lower intolerance for gluten. It is also high in fiber, protein, and minerals and vitamins. So it's very healthy!


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