Sunday, June 12, 2011

Light Lunch of Veggies and Farro

Lunch: June 11

This week was crazy busy with work, but luckily I planned a break on Saturday to head to Orange County for lunch with Amy. She had a rough week and needed a meal that included vegetables, so I organized a light lunch for us.

The first thing on the menu was a farro salad. Farro is an Italian brown rice that I discovered by watching the Extra Virgin show on the Cooking Channel, and my mom recently bought a package for me when we visited one of the Italian markets in L.A. The recipe was called Caprese di Farro and looked relatively simple. The only thing I changed was to cut the recipe in half.

Basics:  Added half pound of farro to salted boiling water, cooked for 20 minutes, strained, and rinsed in cold water. Stirred in halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, chopped fresh mozzarella, and ripped basil leaves. Added olive oil and served.

I’m generally not a salad person, but this was wonderful! The farro was flavorful, and the other ingredients added the perfect mix. The farro and mozzarella made it a pretty filling dish, and we kept going back for more until we stopped ourselves, knowing we had another dish to prepare. I will likely make this salad in the large portion next time and keep it around for several meals in a row. Loved it!

The second item on the menu was where I planned to incorporate more vegetables. I decided on this recipe for veggie tortilla pizzas because of its simplicity. And of course, I changed the amount because we certainly didn’t need 10 servings. I also cut the vegetables differently than suggested. Additionally, we decided to refrain from cooking the vegetables first, since all would cook a bit in the oven and were just as good on the raw side anyway. And we added cherry tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. In sum, I took their recipe and made it something that sounded better to Amy and me.

Basics:  Thinly sliced one zucchini, one small yellow squash, ½ yellow onion, and two garlic cloves, halved some cherry tomatoes, and cubed some fresh mozzarella. Brushed olive oil on whole wheat tortillas, laid the vegetables and cheese on tortillas, added chunks of goat cheese and ripped fresh basil. Baked at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes.

These were great, light, one-plate meals! The pizzas were tasty and healthy, with the vegetables cooked just enough and the cheeses adding the perfect touch. They were also so easy to prepare, and they can be done with just about any vegetables available. Other cheeses can be substituted as well. It was quick and just filling enough after our salad. We didn’t regret not sautéing the vegetables first, and everything tasted very fresh.

Both of these recipes are things that I’m going to keep in mind for quick, healthy, delicious meals. As I often have extra veggies around after other recipes, the pizzas are a perfect way to use them. And I’m simply going to have to stock up on farro because the salad was something I could easily eat on a weekly basis.

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