This farro recipe is one of my favorite ways to use my favorite veggie!
If you’re craving macaroni and cheese, but aren’t 100 percent ready to dive headfirst into a bucket of refined carbs, this casserole is a great substitute. Chewy, hearty, whole-grain farro is mixed with tender cauliflower florets and then smothered in a gooey cheese sauce made with skim milk.
Makes: 4 main dish servings
Time: 50 minutes
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable broth
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
2 cups skim milk
½ cup freshly shredded Fontina cheese
½ cup freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the farro and broth over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the farro is tender, about 10 minutes.
Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a large pot full of water to a boil, add the cauliflower florets, and cook until fork tender, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While the farro and cauliflower are cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the skim milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses, and salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the casserole, stir together the farro, cauliflower, and cheese sauce until everything is well coated. Pour into a casserole dish and then sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
Nutrition per serving: 499 calories, 15 g fat, 57 g carbs, 24 g protein
You can also serve this mac and cheese substitute as a side dish; it’ll serve six to eight as a side.
Reprinted with permission from “Chia, Quinoa, Kale, Oh My!” by Cassie Johnston, The Countryman Press 2015
Cassie Johnston is a freelance graphic designer, writer, and blogger. Her blog, backtoherroots.com, encourages readers to make healthier choices about food, activities, and life by living more simply. She and her husband farm nine acres in southern Indiana. Johnston is also the author of “Cooking with Greek Yogurt.” This recipe comes from her latest book “Chia, Quinoa, Kale, Oh My!”
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