It's time for another Secret Recipe Club post! This month, my assignment was The Tasty Cheapskate. Food was not a big focus for Jean growing up, neither eating it nor cooking it, which is pretty much the opposite of my childhood. Luckily all that changed for her as an adult. Now she focuses on whole foods and budget friendly family meals. She even did a challenge where she fed her 6 person family on $6 a day! Incredible!
Looking through her blog, I found a lot of yummy baked goods. Like a bunch of different pull-apart breads, but especially this coconut and lime one. Also zucchini bread with lemon or with coconut. And self frosting nutella pumpkin muffins - shut the front door! But despite all those yummy delights, what I really wanted was a nice healthy meal - so my eyes lit up when I saw this Broccoli Barley Casserole. And I was even more excited when I saw that the original recipe used farro, which I have been meaning to start using for a long time, and that it could be made in one pot.
Start by sauteing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven. Then add the farro and allow to toast a bit.
Add in frozen spinach, water, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is almost all gone and the farro is tender but still chewy, about 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and add in Parmesan cheese.
Add in white beans, tomatoes, steamed broccoli, and Monterey Jack cheese.
Add more cheese over the top and broil until melted and bubbling.
This one-pot vegetarian meal has whole grains, tons of veggies, plus beans and cheese for protein. It is creamy and flavorful and just all-around awesome - enjoy!
Broccoli Farro Casserole
adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups (semi-pearled) farro or barley
1 cup frozen spinach (or 1 10oz block, which is 1 1/2 cups), no need to thaw
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup shredded Parmesan (2 oz)
2 heads broccoli (2 lbs)
1-2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 14 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or large saucepan). Add the onion and cook until very lightly browned, then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in farro (or barley) and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
Place the frozen spinach in the center and pour the broth and water over the top, which should thaw and separate most of the spinach. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until farro is tender and remaining liquid has thickened to a creamy sauce (about 20-25 minutes). You may add more liquid and cook longer, if needed.
Take off the heat and stir in Parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
While the barley is simmering, put the broccoli in a microwave proof bowl with 1/2 cup water, cover it with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can steam it on the stove.) Drain the water and add to the farro, along with the tomatoes and white beans. Taste again for seasoning.
Stir 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese into the farro, and sprinkle the other 1/2 cup over the top.
Place under the broiler and broil until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.