In my attempt to add more vegetarian dishes to our weekly menu plan, I am always looking for unique dishes that are full of flavor. I have always been a fan of zucchini fritters or pancakes, so when I came across a recipe that included farro into the ingredient list, I knew I had to try it. Farro is an essential ingredient used in Umbrian cuisine and can be found in salads, soups, as a side dishes, or even in place of risotto. Farro is an ancient grain that has become very popular in recent years and has a subtle nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture. Farro can now be found in many local grocery stores, Italian specialty shops, or health food stores. You can buy farro in a few different forms including pearled, semi-pearled, or natural. Since the pearled varieties include removing the tough outer husk, the pearled varieties do cook quicker but are not as nutrient rich. If you cannot find farro, you could substitute pearl barley, millet, or even quinoa in its place.
Farro should be cooked just until it is tender to the bite, but it should still be fairly firm. Nothing is worse than overcooked, mushy farro in a salad! To cook your farro, simply bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and then drop in your farro and cook until tender, or “al dente”. I often used pearled farro in my salads, which cooks quicker than regular farro, taking just about 15 minutes to cook. Just check your package directions as cooking time will depend on the variety of farro you choose. I made a roasted red pepper sauce to top my farro zucchini cakes, but a simple, brightly flavored tomato sauce would also be tasty.
Deborah Mele 2016
Farro Zucchini Cakes:
- 3 1/2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
- 1 Teaspoon Salt2 Cups Cooked Farro
- 1 Cup Fresh Wholegrain Breadcrumbs
- 3 Green Onions, Chopped
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley Leaves
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 2 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten
- 3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
- 3 Red Peppers, Roasted
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Toss the grated zucchini with the teaspoon of salt, and place in a colander.
- Weight the zucchini mixture down with a plate topped with a heavy can and let sit for 20 minutes to drain.
- Squeeze the zucchini to remove as much liquid as possible and place in a bowl.
- Add the remaining zucchini cakes into the bowl and toss with your fingers to mix.
- Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- To make the sauce, place the peppers, garlic, vinegar, red peppers flakes into a blender and pulse to combine.
- Drizzle in the olive oil until you have the desired consistency.
- Place the sauce in a small bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form the zucchini farro mixture into 9 equal sized cakes.
- Place the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until lightly smoking.
- Fry three to four cakes at a time over medium heat until lightly browned on each side, about 4 minutes per side.
- Place the cooked cakes on the baking sheet and place in the oven while you cook the remaining cakes.
- Place the cakes on a platter and serve along with the red pepper sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 cakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 347 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 93mg Sodium: 319mg Carbohydrates: 38g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 10g Protein: 11g