Coconut Curried Farro and Chickpeas with Smoky Potatoes

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It was going to be a vegan night; however, I had three chicken breasts left from earlier this week that needed to be consumed. I tend to stay away from pure vegan/vegetarian meals since hubs and I are not vegetarians and we generally do not feel full enough without some protein and carbs. This is probably because I am not familiar with preparing hearty vegan/vegetarian meals, and I am embarrassed to admit that I associate vegan meals with a bowl of vegetables.

Au contraire! The Coconut Curried Farro and Chickpea recipe, written by a vegan food blogger, Kathy Patalsky, is absolutely a meal on its own. It is hearty, nutritious, delicious, and filling. I dare all carnivores to try this and tell me it isn’t wonderful. It’s also easy to make, which is important to me.

Some of you might take a look at the title and disregard the recipe because, what the heck is farro? I only learned about farro last summer when I was at the Nuthouse, talking to one of the clerks about farro and wheat berry and how he cooks with it. First, I should mention that farro and wheat berry are similar, but not the same.

Farro and wheatberries, it turns out, are very close kin. They’re each the grain of the wheat plant, which has a rough husk and, inside it, what can be imagined like an egg: a shell, called the “bran,” an “endosperm,” playing an egg white-like role, and within the endosperm, a yolk-like “germ” —literally, wheat germ. Farro and wheatberries are each the whole, three-part grain, just from different types of wheat plants. Farro comes from wheat varieties grown in warmer climates, while wheatberries come from colder-weather wheat.

You can read more about the differences on the Forbes website. I will say that I agree with the author that farro has a nuttier flavour than barley. So now you know that farro is a grain. What I only just learned is that there are different kinds for farro – farro piccolo, farro grande and farro medio.  I am not that fussy, and I am sure if I asked the clerk this which kind of farro is being sold, he probably wouldn’t know. I should mention that it does contain gluten. This dish is not recommended for people with Celiac disease.

farro-grain

As I mentioned, this meal is uncomplicated. The only tricky part of the recipe is related to quantity of farro. I estimated 3.5 cups of the grain when I was at Whole Foods in their bulk section. I was short (purchased 0.350 kg). I believe that came to just under 3 cups; however, when I re-read the ingredients, the author writes it as 3.5 cups of cooked farro. From the 0.350 kg I purchased, it produced around 5 cups of cooked farro.

I added the farro to 4.5 cups of salted water and let it come to a boil. I had used 1.5 Tbsp of salt, but for that amount, you could probably use 1 Tbsp or a little less if you are sodium sensitive. Once the water came to a rolling boil, I turned the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer. I checked on it after 25 minutes, and it was very crunchy, so I let it continue simmering. If you like it really soft, you’ll have to let it simmer for a while. I estimate that I cooked it for about 45 minutes. Hubs said it was fine, though he would like it better if it was just a bit softer. I should mention that I did not soak the grains before cooking, nor is it mandatory; however, similar to quinoa, soaking grains will “neutralize the anti-nutrient called phytic acid and release the enzyme inhibitors, thus making them much easier to digest and making the nutrients more assimilable.” Read more about it here.

While the farro was simmering, I cubed the sweet potatoes, chopped the raw almonds, parsley, and kale, and drained the chickpeas.

ingredients-for-dish

chickpeas-farro

farro

My vegan dish was unveganized as soon as I put a pat of butter in my skillet and added in the 3.5 cups of cooked farro, along with the 1.5 Tbsp of curry powder and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. After combining all of this, I added the 19 oz can of drained chickpeas and 3/4 cup coconut milk. I didn’t have sultans handy, so I threw in a pinch of dried cranberries. As soon as the coconut milk has been absorbed, I made space for the chopped raw almonds and added in a drizzle of pure maple syrup, coating all the nuts before folding this into the farro. Turn down the heat, and gently fold in the chopped kale and parsley.

I transferred the contents into a bowl, and continued to put 1 Tbsp of coconut oil into the pan and added in the sweet potatoes. I knew my farro was a little salty already, so I simply added the smoked paprika, lots of it because I love smoked paprika. I also added some freshly ground pepper. Let the potatoes crisp a little, if you have the patience, and then add it to the other half of your bowl. It’s absolutely eye-catching and mouth-watering!

coconut-curry-farro-smoky-sweet-potatoes

As I mentioned, I served this was a side of braised kale and pan fried chicken breasts.

Definitely visit Kathy’s site for more wonderful pictures of this dish, and a printable version of the recipe.

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Recipe by Kathy Patalsky

Warmly spiced, loaded with hearty ingredients and captivating flavors of curry, cinnamon, coconut, almond and greens. This grain and bean dish is entree approved and a one bowl wonder meal. Load up a bowl and sink into deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • Farro:
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked farro
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, chopped and packed (or try frozen kale)
  • 16oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or coconut cream)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 2 tsp maple syrup, grade B
  • OPTIONAL: pinch of fresh orange peel or golden raisins (optional)
  • Potatoes:
  • 1 1/2 cups potato, peeled and diced (any variety)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • Whole dish: salt and pepper to taste (I added about 1/3 tsp pink salt)

Instructions

  1. Precook your farro, since this will take a good hour to get your farro tender you may want to do this part the day before like I did, so when you are ready for dinner, you can whip up this dish in under thirty minutes, easy! Cook farro by boiling it in a large pot of water until all the water has absorbed and farro has bloomed and is tender. I usually slowly simmer my farro in water for at least 60 minutes. Drain any excess water and place cooked farro in the fridge to chill.
  2. To prepare farro: Warm a skillet over high heat and melt the vegan butter. Add the cooked farro, curry and cinnamon and sautè over high for about two minutes.
  3. To the farro, add in the chickpeas and coconut milk, optional citrus ingredient and fold. Fold and sautè for another few miutes until the coconut milk has absorbed. Then push all the farro mixture over to one side of the pan leaving a blank space.
  4. Add the chopped almonds to the blank spot and drizzle the maple over top them. Stir the maple almonds for a minute, then fold them into the rest of the mixture.
  5. Reduce heat to low and fold in the kale and parsley and optional orange zest.
  6. While the farro mixture is on low heat, bring a small pot of water to a boil and boil the potatoes for 4-6 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain potatoes and set aside.
  7. Transfer the farro mixture to your serving bowl, and in the same skillet, turn up stove heat to high and melt the coconut oil into the skillet. Add the potatoes, paprika and salt and pepper. Saute potatoes 3-4 minutes, or until edges brown and crisp up. Pour potatoes on the side of the farro in the serving dish to serve. Serve warm. Delicious warm or chilled.

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 306kcal
  • Fat: 10g
  • Totalcarbs: 46g
  • Dietaryfiber: 7g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

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