Recipe Redux Challenge for Whole Grains: A Recipe for Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto

We’re constantly on the lookout for nutritious whole grains to add to our families diets, and over the past few years, have turned to interesting grains like quinoa, wheat berries, and bulgur. When we heard that this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was whole grains, we had a tough time deciding which grain to cook with. We finally narrowed it down to farro, an ancient whole grain grown and used in Italy since Roman times. Farro is light brown in color and looks a bit like brown rice, but its hearty nutty flavor and chewy texture add more of a “wow” factor to savory soups, colorful salads, and sides.

For our recipe, we were inspired by a side dish for Farro Risotto from America’s Test Kitchen. Apparently, Italian cooks prepare farro in the same way they prepare Arborio rice for a creamy dish called farrotto. We tweaked the Test Kitchen recipe a bit by adding zucchini (the original recipe only called for carrots) and switching from chicken broth to vegetable.

The brand of farro that we found at the market was Earthly Choice Italian Pearled Farro. Pearled farro has the hull removed which still keeps plenty of the fiber intact but shortens the cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes. A quarter cup uncooked farro has an impressive 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams protein. Not bad!

Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto

Makes 6 Servings 

We need to thank America’s Test Kitchen for this recipe. We made a few changes, but by and large, the recipe is the same one featured in their Best Recipes and Reviews 2011 magazine.

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1½ cups pearled farro
  • 2 cups all-natural vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. Combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Stir in the farro and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the farro softens but is still a bit chewy, about 25 minutes.

3. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

* Unlike traditional risotto, with this recipe, you don’t have to heat the liquid first and you can add it all at once. Be sure to stir often and keep the lid off to allow some of the moisture to evaporate.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 2/3 cup):   230 calories, 5g fat (0.5g saturated), 170mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 8g protein, 80% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 15% iron

Print Recipe

The carrots and zucchini add a slight sweetness to this side dish. Every spoonful is a real treat!

The best part about this recipe is that our kids really enjoyed it. What a nice change of pace from pasta and rice!

the InLinkz code

11 responses to “Recipe Redux Challenge for Whole Grains: A Recipe for Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto”

  1. Confess that I’ve never cooked farro, but the comment that your kids love it has me sold!

  2. What a unique twist on risotto! Looks delicious, too!

  3. Don’t know farro! But have some wonderful “real”(haha) Italian friends. Going to ask them the scoop on this grain. I like the idea of toasting the farro first, like risotto and then cooking it with broth. I think just a quick toast goes a long way for flavor. (well, my kids can tell the difference-they like their rice/risotto and other grains toasted first before adding water.) Feeling inspired! Thanks

  4. Hi Liz and Janice I love the idea of trying Farotto… pearled faro still a wholegrain? I guess not? But of course still highly nutritious. Yum.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Emma

      Semi pearled farro has had some of the hull removed and pearled has had all the hull removed. Regular farro would need to be soaked first and then would require about an hour of cooking time. The pearled farro that we used has quite a bit of fiber: 5 grams in 1/4 cup dry. It also has 7 grams of protein. We’ve cooked with regular farro before … a great option but again, lots more time at the stove!

  5. This looks amazing! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  6. Ladies, that looks quite tasty! Can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  7. Wish I could eat farro because your risotto looks amazing!!! I’m thinking this would be good with millet for a gluten-free alternative 🙂

  8. Serena says:

    I’ve never cooked farro before either; but now I’m so inspired. Thanks for giving it the test run for us! I KNOW it will be good if it’s your recipe. I might try using both zucchini and carrots? I’ll let you know. Thanks also for the response on pearled vs nonpearled… very helpful! (I just learned pearled barley wasn’t a whole grain – a rather sad day.)

  9. Sharon Samuels says:

    I was looking for a recipe for the Farro I had in my pantry. I came across this recipe and decided to try it since I had all of the ingredients. It was so easy and so delicious. I absolutely love it. It is definitely a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *