Easy farro with sun-dried tomato pesto is made with fresh spinach and toasted walnuts, for a healthy side dish or vegetarian recipe; serve warm or room temp!
Farro is one of those ingredients that I feel is very underestimated.
Maybe it’s because its whole grain colleagues try to outshine it. Yeah, I’m talking to you quinoa and brown rice!
Seriously though, if you haven’t tried farro yet or don’t know what it is, I’m here to indulge you .
This vegetarian farro recipe is made with a quick and easy sun-dried tomato pesto and fresh spinach. It’s got a little tang from the pesto with a little earthy-nutty flavor from the farro and walnuts.
I like to eat it by the bowlful as my dinner, but you can also serve it as a healthy side dish (I even got the “mmm” approval from John, so that’s got to say something!)
As much as we love basil (and I mean LOVE), the sun-dried tomato pesto makes this recipe. The walnuts and rosemary give the pesto more of a wintry-cold-weather-cozy vibe.
Benefits of Farro:
- Full of antioxidants
- High in fiber and plant-based protein
- High in vitamins and minerals, including iron
What does farro taste like?
Farro has a similar texture to barley with a nutty complex flavor. It’s slightly chewy and absorbs flavor greatly!
Ingredients in sun-dried tomato pesto (pesto rosso or red pesto):
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Toasted walnuts
- Parmesan cheese
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Fresh rosemary
To make the sun-dried tomato pesto, simply add ingredients to your food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth.
This red pesto recipe was adapted from Striped Spatula.
How to cook farro:
Cooking farro is very similar to cooking quinoa or brown rice!
- Add water, farro, and salt to a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until farro is tender or “al dente” and most of the water is absorbed.
- Farro should be slightly chewy but not mushy.
Add in the fresh spinach, stir in your homemade sun-dried tomato pesto and you’re good to go!
Simple, easy and so flavorful.
Tips for making vegetarian farro with sundried tomato pesto
- Toasting the nuts before making the pesto adds depth of buttery flavor.
- To make this dish vegan, simply use nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan cheese
- You can substitute almonds or cashews for the walnuts if you’d like
- If you don’t have sun-dried tomatoes in oil, simply add more olive oil until the mixture reaches its desired texture.
- You can make the pesto ahead of time and store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- This recipe will work with any whole grain you have handy such as: quinoa, barley or bulgur, or freekeh.
- Swap the spinach with another dark green like kale or chard if desired!
Since this farro recipe has a lot of plant-based protein you can serve it by itself for a complete healthy vegetarian meal or serve it as a healthy side dish with:
- Grilled chicken
- Pan seared salmon
- Sauteed shrimp
For more healthy grain recipes try:
- Butternut Squash & Parmesan Farro Risotto
- Brown Butter & Sage Quinoa
- Pesto Quinoa with Balsamic Grilled Peaches
Farro with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, see recipe notes
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese use nutritional yeast for vegan version
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- ¼-1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup farro uncooked
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- salt as needed
- pepper as needed
- Make the pesto: combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, while pulsing, until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Set aside.
- Place water and farro in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20-30 minutes or until farro is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed.
- Add spinach and stir until wilted.
- Stir in sun-dried tomato pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature.