I find this time of year very stressful. The memories of a long harsh winter are still fresh enough that when I see the wealth of beautiful produce at the farmer’s market I feel the need to get a little (or a lot) of everything every time I go. The problem (“problem”) is that when I get home and it is time to pull something together for dinner I stand there staring at what I bought and my mind goes blank. I know that when Chris calls to see whats for dinner and I say salad there will be a long pause and then something like “again?” or “aaaand?”. Ok so I may have gotten a little repetitive (and lazy), just throwing everything together, adding a vinaigrette and calling it a day. What can I say, i’m not perfect. But these three farro grain bowls are my new obsession – I am basically still making a salad but with a hearty grain base so a certain someone doesn’t starve.
I turned to my pantry for help and thought I’d share some of the items I think are perfect for providing a hearty and healthy base or flavorful sauce for almost any fresh produce.
Grains: i like to have a variety just to keep things interesting and since i have a rice cooker it is ridiculously easy to make some just to have on hand (i think you could do this in a slow-cooker as well).
Beans: i will spare you my crazy bean rant this time but seriously, these beans are awesome – after soaking overnight I cooked them with the farro in my rice cooker using some of the soaking liquid which made this incredibly rich and flavorful kind of stock. outta this world.
Canned/Jarred Stuff: it might seem odd to add canned stuff to fresh produce but one of my favorite things in life is having some Muhammara to dip fresh veggies into – add a crusty loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, perhaps one of these farro dishes and you’re ready for a picnic!
Tahini: my favorite use for tahini is with yogurt and lemon juice to go on some falafel but its uses are endless.
Oil + Vinegar: pretty straightforward. A standard vinaigrette ratio of oil to vinegar (or other acid) is 3:1 – I personally find this a little too oily but it is a good place to start – I also like adding dijon mustard to help emulsify the dressing.
Nuts!: the perfect garnish for any salad (i recommend toasting first).
A few other key items not pictured: lemons, dijon mustard, a big block of Parmesan (no pre-grated stuff! it is flavorless and does not last any longer), garlic and onions.
This breakfast bowl is inspired by my Mom who is so over the whole boxed cereal thing for breakfast but has a hard time finding something as easy to have on hand that can be put together quickly in the morning. A cooked pot of grains will last you all week in the fridge and when you think about it, we eat oatmeal for breakfast so why not farro!?
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tbl honey
- 1 cup cooked farro or barley
- ¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted (i used Bob's Red Mill)
- Sprinkle cherries with a touch of sugar and let sit anywhere from a few minutes to overnight in the fridge.
- Stir honey into greek yogurt - adding more or less according to your taste.
- Divide farro into two bowls, top each with a large dollop of yogurt, cherries and the toasted coconut.
- 8oz baby potatoes, cut in half
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2-3 tbl olive oil
- 2 cups cooked farro
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan (plus more for garnish)
- 2 tbl lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Toss potatoes and asparagus in olive oil and place onto separate baking sheets (since they will not cook in the same amount of time) and season both with salt and pepper. Cook until tender - about 10 minutes for the asparagus and 20-30 minutes for the potatoes.
- Make the vinaigrette: whisk together the Parmesan and lemon juice then slowly drizzle in olive oil while you keep whisking. season with salt and pepper.
- Combine farro and veggies, toss with the vinaigrette and portion into bowls. Top with a little (or a lot) more Parmesan.
- 1 cup farro or barley
- 1 cup dried kidney beans
- 1 bunch kale
- roasted cherry tomatoes
- poached egg
- Soak beans overnight. If using Rancho Gordo beans, reserve the liquid when draining.
- Add grain to a pot or rice cooker and the amount of liquid specified on packaging - using some of the bean liquid in addition to stock or water.
- Add the beans, an additional 1 cup of water, and a generous amount of salt. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the beans are tender and the grains are cooked but still al dente.
- Remove from heat, add the chopped kale, cover and let sit 5 minutes to steam the kale. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with roasted tomatoes and a poached egg if desired.