I am in love with farro. I realize this grain has been around for centuries, but it seems to just be gaining popularity in the US in the past few months. Farro actually hails from the Mediterranean and is commonly found in Italian food. That’s right, Italians eat more than just pasta.
I was so excited to run into reps from Bob’s Red Mill at the International Food Blogger’s Conference. I love this business, first because it’s local to me but secondly because they have fantastic, quality products at great prices. I am especially a fan of their unsweetened shredded coconut, the only unsweetened coconut I’ve been able to find. But on this occasion they were giving out samples of their farro and sorghum, which I greedily grabbed up and added to my already overflowing swag bag. The rep invited me out to explore their factory store, which I fully intend to do within the next few weeks.
Farro is a wheat grain that looks very similar to barley when it’s uncooked, but, unlike barley, it retains a crunchy outer texture when cooked. Farro is a whole grain which means that your body has to work harder to digest it, and that benefits your metabolism. It’s very filling so a little farro goes a long way, and the taste is similar to brown rice in that it’s very nutty in flavor. I love to use farro in salads, mixed with vegetables like I have here, or in a stuffing such as my Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats that I made over the summer.
One of the many things I love about this dish is that it’s so incredibly simple and I can vary it up easily too. It is one of my favorite Meatless Monday meals because it’s not only delicious, but it is also quick to make after a busy day at the office. I simply roast sweet cherry tomatoes in a bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and salt then toss the roasted tomatoes with cooked farro, fresh oregano, light feta cheese, salt, pepper, and an additional splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar for extra flavor.
I highly recommend using light feta cheese instead of the fat free crumbled feta cheese you will find in the grocery store. First, the calorie difference is negligible – the fat free feta is only a measly 10 calories less than the light version. But more importantly, the fat free version is filled with chemicals to replace the fat and flavor it’s lacking, leaving it with a rubbery texture and unpleasant taste. Light feta, on the other hand, is made from skim milk so it’s naturally lower in fat and calories than its whole milk sibling but still has that great brined, feta taste and texture.
Sometimes I vary this recipe up depending on what’s producing in the garden or what I have in the fridge. For example, I recently roasted some baby eggplant with the tomatoes, subbed basil for the oregano, and traded in the feta for some shredded parmesan cheese. My tastebuds and my waistline thank me for this dish!
- Serves: 2
- Calories: 150.9
- Fat: 10.7
- Saturated fat: 1.9
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1
- Carbohydrates: 13.1
- Sugar: 1.2
- Sodium: 411.8
- Fiber: 2.3
- Protein: 4.5
- Cholesterol: 2.5
- ⅓ cup dry farro, cooked according to package directions
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chopped, fresh oregano
- 1 oz. light feta cheese, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Whisk together 1 tbsp of the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the vinegar.
- Add the garlic, a pinch of salt and dash of pepper and whisk again until well combined.
- On a baking sheet, toss together the cherry tomatoes and oil-vinegar mixture. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes until roasted.
- Combine the roasted tomatoes, farro, oregano, feta, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1 tsp red wine vinegar in a small bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.