Recipe: Farro with Caramelized Carrots, Crispy Broccolini, and Herby Yogurt Dressing

updated Apr 30, 2019
Farro with Caramelized Carrots, Crispy Broccolini, and Herby Yogurt Dressing

This good-for-you grain bowl is quick to whip up, and is packed with veggies, protein, and a simple yogurt dressing.

Serves4

Prep20 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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(Image credit: Shelly Westerhausen)

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Vegetarian food gets a bad rap for being boring and unsubstantial. But as someone who’s been a vegetarian for 15 years, I can tell you with confidence that’s entirely untrue. Plant-based eating is vibrant and fun and nourishing and, yes, beautifully Instagrammable — all components that will be center stage in every single Tonight We Veg recipe. They’ll also be refreshingly accessible, featuring familiar ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions.

Today, to launch the series, I’m sharing a satisfying, produce-packed farro bowl that’s perfect for this transition from winter to spring. Along with the recipe, you’ll learn the formula for my favorite multi-purpose sauce, and how to make a crunchy garnish that’s a grain bowl game-changer.

(Image credit: Shelly Westerhausen)

If you’re not yet sold on the grain bowl trend, let me tell you why I’m obsessed. My favorite meals are ones where I get a little bit of everything. I’ll always order fajitas at a Mexican restaurant (I love all the fixings that come with the sizzling veggies), I’m a sucker for any type of bento box, and I’m already counting down the days to my plate of Thanksgiving sides.

The way I see it, grain bowls are the grown-up, homemade, good-for-me way to eat all my favorite things in one bowl. Whereas meat eaters have meat and threes, vegetarians have grain bowls — and ours are much more photogenic.

The 10-Second Yogurt Sauce That Upgrades Everything It Touches

To keep a grain bowl from feeling like a random assembly of grains, veggies, and protein, you need some type of sauce to tie it all together. It can take any number of forms, be it an oil-based vinaigrette, a clean-the-fridge pesto, or a lemony tahini drizzle. What’s most important is that it’s easy.

A sauce is always the component that deters me or trips me up. I’m often wary of whipping one up on the fly, but if I turn to a recipe I find myself tediously measuring tiny amounts of condiments and vinegars. Not only is that not how I want to spend my Tuesday night, but it also means I’ll never be able to re-create it on my own.

That’s why the fast, easy herby yogurt sauce that’s spooned atop this grain bowl follows a formula you can memorize, and then use on repeat: 1 cup yogurt + 1 cup tender herbs + 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon citrus zest + 1 tablespoon citrus juice + 1 garlic clove, blitzed in the food processor until creamy. A drizzle of this sauce makes this grain bowl come alive, and it yields enough so that you can use it all week, paired with a frittata or crispy tofu or a crudité platter.

Crunch and Crispiness Is the Name of the Game

We recently named broccoli our Vegetable of the Year. But it better watch its back, because its little cousin Broccolini is gunning for the title. After a quick stint in a hot oven, Broccolini florets get so crunchy, they almost taste fried. For that reason, I love Broccolini in a grain bowl — it adds a contrasting crunch to the chewy grains and creamy dressing.

In addition to the veg, I often like to finish grain bowls with a crunchy garnish, be it crispy chickpeas or a toasted nut or seed. In this case, we’re using pepitas. You can buy them roasted and salted, but if you’re starting with raw pepitas, try this easy upgrade: Heat a teaspoon of oil in the pot leftover from cooking the farro. Add the pepitas and toast until fragrant and golden. Add a pinch each cumin, coriander, and salt and toss to coat. Taste, and season again.

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As will ring true for most Tonight We Veg recipes, I encourage you to adapt this recipe to your liking, based on what looks best at the farmers market, what’s wilting in your produce drawer, or what you’re currently craving.

Farro with Caramelized Carrots, Crispy Broccolini, and Herby Yogurt Dressing

This good-for-you grain bowl is quick to whip up, and is packed with veggies, protein, and a simple yogurt dressing.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the bowls:

  • 1 bunch

    spring carrots (about 6 to 7), trimmed, peeled, and sliced on the diagonal

  • 2 bunches

    Broccolini (about 1 pound total), halved crosswise

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground coriander

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup

    farro (either semi-pearled or pearled is fine; cooking time will differ)

For the yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup

    2% plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup

    loosely packed fresh herbs, such as cilantro and mint, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1

    small garlic clove, crushed

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

    For serving:

    Instructions

    1. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 425°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven while it heats. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.

    2. Place the carrots in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds black pepper. Toss to coat.

    3. Place the Broccolini on a second baking sheet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds black pepper, and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer.

    4. When the oven is ready, spread the carrots in a single layer on the hot baking sheet and place on the lower rack. Place the baking sheet of Broccolini on the upper rack. Roast for 20 minutes. Flip the carrots and Broccolini, rotate the baking sheets between racks, and continue to roast until tender, about 5 minutes more.

    5. Meanwhile, cook the farro in a large pot of salted boiling water until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain.

    6. Make the yogurt sauce: Place the yogurt, herbs, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender and process until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    7. Divide the farro among 4 shallow bowls. Top with the carrots and Broccolini. Drizzle the yogurt sauce over the veggies and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and nestle into bowls, if desired. Top with fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper as needed.

    Recipe Notes

    Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.