Fact: One of the beautiful things about whole, plant-based eating is that you can usually eat as much as you want, within reason, and leave the table full and not guilty feeling! And here’s two recipes that are delicious and nutritious and savory-satisfying!
This two-dish meal is both very simple and very hearty. I find that if soup is substantial, it can be a whole meal. But alas, one may find themselves hungry in an hour or so even after eating the thickest and heartiest of soups. This Broccoli-Cauliflower Ginger Soup has a great texture and flavor, especially because I hold aside enough of the broccoli and cauliflower to float in the soup to have a chewy and slurpy soup. It that might be enough for lunch and definitely satisfying as a warm, between meal snack. But for dinner, I needed to follow the soup up with a solid, toothy stick-your-ribs dish so I chose to experiment with farro.
What is farro, you ask? From first glance, it looks alot like barley or even a cereal type grain. I really didn’t know what to do with it, but I remembered reading that it was a healthy,whole grain food and that draws me in like a magnet.
Facts about farro:
• it is one of the oldest cultivated grains consumed by humans, for 5,000 years, an ancient grain!
• it has twice the protein and fiber of wheat
• it has cyanogenic glucosides which are believed to lower cholesterol and maintain blood sugar
• although it contains gluten, it is more digestible than wheat
• it contains a variety of B vitamins, especially niacin (vitamin B3), which helps to metabolize macronutrients, vitamin E, muscle relaxing magnesium, immune-boosting zinc, and blood-creating iron
• it is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and lignans, which activate metabolism
The beauty of farro, in my opinion, aside from the health benefits, is the “toothiness” or chewiness of this grain. My family absolutely loved it and I think it’s chewiness was a main part of the appeal. The texture is generally firmer than rice and it is more flavorful than whole wheat pasta. It certainly feels like you’re eating a whole, unprocessed grain.
Farro comes in different forms and the type you buy will definitely affect how long you will need to cook it. Fully-whole grain farro needs to be soaked overnight but contains the highest amount of protein and fiber. Semi-pearled, on the other hand, has had part of the bran removed, requires no soaking, and takes less time to cook. Pearled farro contains no bran and cooks up quick, but has a milder flavor and much fewer of the nutritional benefits. From what I’ve read, farro is not always specifically labeled so read the fine print. Perhaps if the the type of farro is not evident from the package, check out the cooking instructions for clues to which kind you’ve got in your hand. For my first farro foray, I picked up 2 8 oz. bags of Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Pre-Cooked Farro which has to be the easiest way in the world to whip up farro. Next time, I will scout around Whole Foods for different varieties and compare.
Easy 2-Dish Hearty Dinner
BROCCOLI-CAULIFLOWER GINGER SOUP
- 8 cups of broccoli florets
- 2 cups of cauliflower florets
- 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into small chunks
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbs. pickled ginger
- 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sesame seeds for garnish
- 1) Set aside 1 cup of broccoli florets and 1 cup of cauliflower florets
- 2) Bring 8 cups of water to a boil, with the peeled and slice ginger and salt
- 3) Add remaining broccoli and cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes.
- 4) Spoon broccoli and cauliflower from pot to blender. Discard ginger pieces.
- 5) Add to the blender the cooking water, soy sauce, pickled ginger and rice vinegar to blender.
- 6) Puree until smooth
- 7) Return contents of blender to pot. Add set aside broccoli and cauliflower to poet and simmer for 10 minutes.
- 8) Salt and pepper to taste
- 9) Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top. Makes about 6 servings.
FARRO WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND MUSHROOMS
- 2 pkgs of Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Farro (or your choice of farro)
- 8 oz of white mushrooms, sliced
- 3-5 oz of sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tsp grape-seed oil
- 2 tsp of garlic powder
- sliced toasted almonds for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1) Cook farro according to directions and set aside
- 2) While the farro cooks, simmer the sliced mushrooms and sundried tomatoes in a few spoons of water and the grape-seed oil.
- 3) Cook until the mushrooms are golden and the sun-dried tomatoes are softened
- 4) Stir mushrooms and sundried tomatoes into the farro and add the garlic powder and salt and pepper.
- 5) Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds and serve hot