We’re constantly on the lookout for nutritious whole grains to add to our families diets, and over the past few years, have turned to interesting grains like quinoa, wheat berries, and bulgur. When we heard that this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was whole grains, we had a tough time deciding which grain to cook with. We finally narrowed it down to farro, an ancient whole grain grown and used in Italy since Roman times. Farro is light brown in color and looks a bit like brown rice, but its hearty nutty flavor and chewy texture add more of a “wow” factor to savory soups, colorful salads, and sides.
For our recipe, we were inspired by a side dish for Farro Risotto from America’s Test Kitchen. Apparently, Italian cooks prepare farro in the same way they prepare Arborio rice for a creamy dish called farrotto. We tweaked the Test Kitchen recipe a bit by adding zucchini (the original recipe only called for carrots) and switching from chicken broth to vegetable.
The brand of farro that we found at the market was Earthly Choice Italian Pearled Farro. Pearled farro has the hull removed which still keeps plenty of the fiber intact but shortens the cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes. A quarter cup uncooked farro has an impressive 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams protein. Not bad!
Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto
Makes 6 Servings
We need to thank America’s Test Kitchen for this recipe. We made a few changes, but by and large, the recipe is the same one featured in their Best Recipes and Reviews 2011 magazine.
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1½ cups pearled farro
- 2 cups all-natural vegetable broth
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1. Combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Stir in the farro and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the farro softens but is still a bit chewy, about 25 minutes.
3. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
* Unlike traditional risotto, with this recipe, you don’t have to heat the liquid first and you can add it all at once. Be sure to stir often and keep the lid off to allow some of the moisture to evaporate.
Nutrition Information per Serving (about 2/3 cup): 230 calories, 5g fat (0.5g saturated), 170mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 8g protein, 80% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 15% iron
The carrots and zucchini add a slight sweetness to this side dish. Every spoonful is a real treat!
The best part about this recipe is that our kids really enjoyed it. What a nice change of pace from pasta and rice!