Thursday, February 27, 2014

Superfood Southwestern Farro Bake

 I receive daily emails from Food Navigator, and I thoroughly enjoy reading about the latest trends and nutritional changes that are occurring. Last year, I kept reading about Farro, and I decided that I would definitely like to try it. With a texture like barley, but some additional nutritional benefits. 

I love vegetable bakes, and this has become one of my favorite throw it together dishes. Full of nutrition, full of color (haven't you heard you should eat the colors of the rainbow), and full of wonderful taste! The cream cheese gives it a creaminess that balances out the southwestern spices. I loved this combination!

If you do not have farro, this would work well with quinoa, and if you are vegetarian, you could easily remove the chicken. I only used one chicken breast, as there is plenty of protein from the meat free ingredients.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

  • Farro is high in Vitamins B and E, as well as being high in magnesium, which helps your muscles relax. If Oprah is recommending Farro, you know its gotta be good :P
  • Edamame is a great source of protein and fiber, as well as containing lots of free radical destroying antioxidants
  • Sweet potato is great for reducing inflammation, has lots of great vitamins, and is high in fiber too. Jill Conyers has more health benefits (and recipes)
  • Black beans help with blood sugar regulation and are great for cardiovascular health, meaning your workouts will feel better
  • Sweetcorn is great for healthy eye function and contains manganese that helps strengthen connective tissue, meaning less injuries!

Superfood Southwestern Farro Bake
Serves 4-5
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1 small sweet potato, peeled, and cut into bite sized pieces
½ tbsp oil
½ onion, diced
1 large chicken breast, cut into bite sized chunks
½ red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
½ cup (90g) black beans
15 cherry/plum tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup (165g) farro, uncooked (if you cannot find farro, quinoa will work just as well)
¼ cup sweetcorn
1/3 cup (50g) edamame
¼ cup cream cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder/cayenne pepper (adding more if you want more spice)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup (65g) mozzarella


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Boil a saucepan of salted water, add the sweet potato chunks and cook until just tender (around 10 minutes). Drain the water, and set aside. 

Heat ½ tbsp oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and pepper, and cook until caramelized and golden brown.  Add the chicken, and cook until browned. Stir in garlic, edamame, black beans, corn, cumin, chilli, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, cook the farro according to package directions. Drain the water, and stir in the cream cheese and lemon juice.

Add the farro, cherry tomatoes, and sweet potato to the sauté pan, turning the heat to low. Stir well to distribute all the ingredients. 

Pour the farro mix into a greased 9x9 pan. Sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella. Cover with foil, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil, turn to broil, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese browns and bubbles.

Remove, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before enjoying.

433 calories, 18g fat, 347mg sodium,48g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 22g protein


As my survey revealed (to my surprise) that randomness was what you wanted more of; I am letting my creative juices flow, I have decided to join Amanda (and many others) in:
    Can't promise these are the most interesting topics ever, but these are what I have been thinking about during my last few runs.

    What is it about cereal that makes it so addictive? It really isn't that nutritious of a meal, nor is it naughty enough to be considered junk food, but no matter how many new and exciting breakfasts I try and love, I always end up back at cereal. I always have to mix least 3 cereals each time so maybe I just have a magic talent for picking good cereal combinations?

    I was talking to a few of my athletes a few months ago, and we were trying to find any food that is not improved by either bacon or chocolate. The only food we came up with is sushi. Do you have any ideas of others?

    If a car honks at me for running in the road when the sidewalks are ice skating rinks I often cant help myself from waving my hands about as if to say "What is your problem?", what would I do if someone came after me?....I am in Philly after all, this could be real concern in some areas!

    I hate how in my workouts/races I always seem to get one phrase of a song stuck in my head, and it just goes round and round. I should be focusing on what I am doing, but all I can think about is "its a small world". If you are interested, here are some more of the usual suspects.

    Why do things seem so much more painful/irrational in the night? Last night as I rolled over in bed, I felt tightness in my hamstring; my mind went into overdrive thinking I would have to stop running, and would not be able to walk in the morning. When I got up this morning, it was completely normal, but its just funny that if you stub your toe in the night, you tentatively reach down to see if it has cracked open and is gushing blood onto the floor...when in fact it is just....well, a stubbed toe!
      I think that's enough randomness for one day :)

      Have you entered my GIVEAWAY to win a box of 12 Rise Bars? Click HERE to enter (its free!)

      What successful meals have arisen from throwing ingredients together for you? Do you follow the trends of what new nutritious foods are available? What foods can you think of that are not improved by either bacon or chocolate?

      Would love you to follow me:


      1. Ohh I've never really cooked with farro but I think I'd like to! Also, I sometimes get a song phrase stuck in my head, so you're not alone!

        1. Thanks Liz! Yeah it is really good! I loved all the textures in it!

          Haha! Yes! What song do you often get stuck?

      2. Ok Tina great minds clearly think alike because I have a post about Farro planned for the near future haha. Love this casserole--I made a semi similar one myself :)

        1. That's funny! We seem to do that a lot! Wish I had your photography skills though :)

      3. That dish looks super tasty, girl! I've never tried Farro (or barley, for that matter), but I'm pretty sure I would love the texture. And if you ever figure out why cereal is so addictive, please let me know -- I can't keep my hand out of my cereal boxes these days!

        1. Thanks Amanda! Yes, I have never tried it, but I'm so glad I did!! Haha, I have so many good breakfasts, but I just can't get enough

      4. I use farro all the time and have some in my pantry, so I am all about this yummy recipe!

        Yes--I agree totally about the night and how our minds get away from us! Why is that? And cereal…my favorite go-to on the rare occasions I go for a late-night snack. I think it's comfort food in a way. Dunno.

        Bacon and chocolate. No. ; )

        1. Yeah, I thought of you as you said about your paranoia in the night! It's so scary! For no reason!

          Haha, I did try bacon and chocolate and wasn't that impressed, but I would be willing to try again :p

      5. Superfoods, southwestern and sweet potato? I have to try this! My daughter thinks bacon is a primary food group. Me? Yuk!

        1. You should? Let me know when you do! We are so similar in many ways, I am sure you will love it! Haha that's funny! Bacon is good, but not all the time!

      6. That farro recipe sounds like a winner to me. I've cooked with both barley and quinoa before but not farro so one I need to try out :)

        I have strong opinions on mint and chocolate not being together so mint is a flavour I would say is not improved by chocolate but I am sure many would disagree with me. Saying that I don't know that minty bacon would be all that great either ;)

        1. Yeah, this was the first time I have cooked with farro, but I definitely will again now!

          That is interesting about chocolate and mint, I am actually kind of similar. Everyone here loves peppermint patties and junior mints, but I would out them at the bottom of my sweet treat list!

      7. Yum, might have to try this minus the chicken.

        1. Yes! Could easily be made without chicken! I only had one breast and it serves 5! It would definitely be enough on it's own :)

      8. Hummmm foods not made better by bacon or chocolate...what about spaghetti? Ha! That's a hard question. I always mix my cereals too. Your farro looks delish!

        1. Oh come on Renee! Spaghetti definitely is better with bacon :p

      9. This looks insanely good even though I can't say I've ever used farro before. But I will now! And bacon and chocolate - never went there either!

      10. Ha Ha Ha Ha I'll do the same thing w/ my arms when people honk at me.. and just like you, what would I do if they stopped? Um, NOTHING besides try to run away. LOL.

        This recipe sounds delicious BTW. Farro is probably one grain I've never worked w/ come to think of it.

        This is going to sound gross, but in 3rd grade my best friend @ the time and I made chocolate covered ranch doritos - and surprisingly they were DELICIOUS!

      11. Totally on the same wavelength! I've been reading about Farro also known as Emmer. I'm going to be experimenting with it soon :) Great recipe (and thanks for linking up to it for #RECIPEFRIDAY!)

        Sushi. I love Sushi. Like, LOVE.


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