Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lightened Up Broccoli Cheese and Farro Casserole

It's time to talk about farro.  Not pharaoh, farro.  Although it was eaten in ancient Rome and Egypt, so pharaoh might be okay too.

Farro is a whole grain that looks a bit like pearl barley, or maybe a slightly pudgier version of rice!  If you want fiber, iron and protein, not to mention a nutty flavor and a chewy texture, it's time for you to try farro.  It cooks pretty much just like rice, but is far healthier (and more flavorful).

So when I saw this recipe - a healthy version of broccoli cheese and rice casserole - I was pumped.  The rice is replaced by farro, and the cream-of-processed-chemicals soup is replaced by a sauce made with milk, vegetable broth and a little flour.  Plus there are leeks, carrots, mushrooms, and tons of broccoli in there.  Yes, there are mushrooms, but shhhhhh don't tell Mark, who isn't a huge hater but isn't a fan either, so I prefer to sneak them in there cut up nice and small.  He didn't suspect a thing.  And even better, he loved this meal.  I did too, but I watched him eat seconds, and then thirds.  By the next day, it was gone.

Oh, and also? Monterey jack cheese.  Enough said.

We really loved this, and if you are feeling like, "there goes Bridget again, cooking weird foods..." I beg you to give this a try.  Farro isn't weird.  It's just delicious.  Try it, okay?


lightened up broccoli cheese and farro casserole
from Craving Something Healthy
yield 10 side dish servings (but we had it for dinner!)

2 cups cooked farro (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium leek, light green part cut into thin slices
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms (about 3 - 4)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets (1-inch pieces)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups low fat milk
3/4 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
pinch of nutmeg
4 ounces shredded monterey jack cheese
salt and pepper


1) Prepare farro according to package directions.  Drain any excess water that has not absorbed.  Set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3) Heat butter and oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add leeks, carrot and mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes, until leeks start to turn golden. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
4) Add flour and stir to combine with vegetables. Cook for 1 minute. Add broth and milk, and bring mixture to a boil to thicken. Add pinch of nutmeg.
5) Add broccoli and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 2 minutes or until broccoli just starts to soften.
6) Add farro and stir to combine. Add cheese and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste
7) Pour entire pan into a casserole dish, or if your pan is oven safe, place it in the oven.
8) Cook for about 20 minutes, or until casserole is golden and bubbly and heated through.

No comments:

Post a Comment