Thursday, November 19, 2015

Farro Stuffing For Your Thanksgiving Menu

Farro is an ancient grain with a lower gluten content.

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Farro, an Ancient Grain
I like grains that are a bit chewy, like barley, spelt, wheat berries, and farro. Farro is emmer wheat, an ancient strain of hard wheat. And like other ancient grains, like Einkorn, it's got a lower gluten content than modern wheat although it is still not suitable for those of you who have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But for people like my husband who has a slight sensitivity to wheat, this fills the bill. It's also great for those of you who would rather eat a whole grain stuffing rather than one made from heavily processed bread.

Farro comes in pearled, semi-pearled, and whole. The semi-pearled and whole has more fiber and bran but it takes longer to cook. 

If you are cooking and serving this in a casserole dish, you do not need any binders but if you are using this as a stuffing, you might need to use a beaten egg or flax egg to make it a bit firmer and hold it together.

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Farro Stuffing
Vegan, Dairy Free
[makes 6 servings]

Requires an 8"x8" casserole dish
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker for making farro (optional)

1 cup dry farro
1/2 to 1 whole Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cube*
Boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread plus some for baking dish
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 to 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or to taste
1/4 black pepper
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cups grated butternut squash
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

* depending on if you are using the Instant pot to make the farro.

Prepare the farro. 
Using the Instant Pot pressure cooker, dissolve the whole Rapunzel bouillon cube in 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. Set aside.
Using the "saute" function, toast the farro in the Instant Pot, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off. Add the water with the dissolved bouillon cube to the farro. Set for 7 minutes. When done, let the pressure come down naturally. Test for doneness. If necessary, cook longer. 

If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook the farro according to directions in salted water.  Set aside.
Dissolve 1/2 of the bouillon cube in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8"x8" casserole dish with Earth Balance.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon of Earth Balance, on medium-low heat, in a large pan or 5-quart Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, poultry seasoning, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquids, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in a tablespoon of Earth Balance. After it melts, add the cooked farro and fresh parsley and enough of the 1/2 cup of water with the dissolved bouillon cube to get the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. There should be enough salt from the bouillon cube.

Place the farro mixture in a prepared casserole dish, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Per serving: 187 calories, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, and 395 mg sodium (using the entire bouillon cube).

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For more Thanksgiving recipes and menu ideas, download my ebook, Health Begins in the Kitchen: Delicious and Easy Vegan Recipes and Seasonal Food Plan.

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