This weekend I made a balls-to-the-wall amazing and hearty winter dish full of texture and flavor. When it’s cold outside, I definitely go for hearty and filling – there is only so much soup a girl can handle. When you’re in the mood for something healthy, hearty and full of “chew,” think farro. A lot of people have asked me, what the h-ll is farro? Farro is an ancient grain from the Mediterranean that is a distant relative to wheat, and is similar in taste to barley. In ancient Rome, it was used to feed the Roman legions and even used for currency (if that were still true, I’d be able to afford a lot more Lululemon). It’s still in the limelight as an Old World classic in Italy, where it is featured in tons of traditional dishes. Farro is the all-star here, lending a nutty, chewiness to the dish. And of course it’s good for you: it’s full of protein, fiber, vitamin B and E, and magnesium. Bonus! Here I’ve added roasted tempeh for an extra protein boost, along with savory leeks and roasted brussels to balance the sweetness of the balsamic. It results in a balanced, hearty and flavorful meal that is perfect for cooler temps. So lace up your gladiator sandals and let’s get cookin’.
Farro with Tempeh, Leeks and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 12 oz package of brussels sprouts, quartered
- 1 8-oz package of tempeh, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
- 2 tablespoons of tamari
- 1 1/4 cups dried farro
- 2 1/2 cups veggie broth
- 2 medium leeks, dark green part removed, quartered and sliced thinly crosswise
- 2 pinches dried rosemary (or fresh rosemary, chopped)
- 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
- fresh ginger and/or minced garlic for tempeh (if desired – I had some so I used it)
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Step One: Prep the Tempeh. Dice your tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Mix together 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp tamari in a small bowl (I’m aware this marinade sounds like a questionable combo, but trust me on this one – the finished product tastes AWESOME). Place your diced tempeh into a shallow dish or Ziploc baggie and toss with the marinade. Allow to marinade for at least one hour (more is better; overnight is ideal).
Step Two: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prep your veggies. Toss the Brussels with 1 Tbsp each of olive oil and balsamic, and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Step Three: Transfer your brussels and tempeh to foil-lined (or parchment-lined, because I totally ran out of tin foil!) baking sheets and place into the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Roast until they are slightly browned. You can toss half-way through if you want, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Step Four: Meanwhile, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in medium to large saucepan. Saute your leeks for 8 minutes, or until translucent.
Step Six: Add the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the farro/leek mixture to a simmer, and then mostly cover, leaving the lid slightly askew. Allow the farro to simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 – 30 minutes.
Step Seven: Meanwhile, whip up a lil’ vinaigrette to pump up your farro. Combine the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, 1 – 2 tablespoons of balsamic, 2 pinches of rosemary (about 1 tsp), 1 squirt of dijon (about 3 tsp) and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well mixed.
Step Eight: Once the farro is done cooking, add the brussel sprouts and vinaigrette. Stir well to combine, season with salt and pepper, if desired. (Side note: I kept the tempeh separate because I was afraid the leftover tempeh would get a weird texture if incorporated). Add extra balsamic, if desired (um, I did. I dumped a whole bunch on my farro because I loooooooove balsamic). I threw a few hazelnuts on top just cuz was feelin’ it. 😀 Enjoy!!
Um, this was amazing. The farro was filling and hearty, and the brussels and tempeh add even more texture to the already fantastic farro. Usually these quick vegan grain dishes are sometimes devoid of all “chew” factor, but this dish has both flavor and texture in bounds. It’s a great way to celebrate Veganuary, and would even fill up the most carnivorous meat-eaters. It’s also a great dish to eat while binge-watching Revenge. (Side note: What is going to happen next?! I just finished season three and my mind was blow. Emily Thorn, you sassy minx! 🙂 ) I hope you guys enjoy this dish as much as I did! It’s a stellar warm, comforting and healthy dish to add to your winter repertoire. YUM. Can’t wait to hear what you guys think!
I hope that you all are having a great Tuesday – stay tuned for my #GratiTuesday post 🙂
PS: You know it’s a good one when you get excited to eat the leftovers before 10 am. 😉