Grain-Off: Farro vs. Quinoa
|February 10, 2011||Posted by Laura under Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegetarian, What's for Dinner|
Quinoa is probably the hottest thing on the hip and trendy grain scene right now. Full of protein, easy to cook, and even those with celiac disease can eat it. Plus, it has those adorable little tails. What’s not to like?
Perhaps that’s overstating the issue a bit, but I say when something makes you double over in pain while you’re waiting in line at the DMV, that amounts to something at least as bad as attempted murder.
Here’s the thing about quinoa: It’s great to grow, because birds won’t eat it. Did it try to kill them, too? No, they’re just smarter than me, and they know that quinoa is coated with saponin: a mild eye, respiratory, and (wait for it!) lower gastrointestinal irritant. Saponin also tastes bitter, which is why it is common knowledge that you must rinse your quinoa many times before cooking it.
The taste never bothered me, though, so I would sort of haphazardly dandle my quinoa under the faucet for a few seconds before tossing it into a pot, if I bothered to rinse it at all. Then, I started having trouble sleeping every time we’d have quinoa for dinner. THEN, I made quinoa muffins for breakfast one morning, and THEN I went to the DMV. And then quinoa tried to kill me. Don’t believe me? I’ll show you my new driver’s license photo. My face is the face of death.
So, without further preamble, I’d like to introduce you to my new best friend, farro. It’s not only the world’s oldest cultivated grain and a great source of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates; but it has never, not ONCE, attempted to end my life. My attorney was a huge fan of quinoa, so it was important to pick a pretty awesome grain to replace it in our diets. Farro has fit the bill nicely.
From Cooking Light, September 2010
- 2 bunches small beets, trimmed
- 2/3 cup uncooked farro
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 3 cups trimmed watercress
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup (2 oz.) crumbled goat cheese (I used chevre)
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Preheat oven to 375° F. Wrap beets in foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool, peel, and thinly slice.
Arrange 1 1/2 cups watercress on a serving platter. Top with half of farro, 1/4 cup onion, and half of sliced beets. Repeat layers, and sprinkle top with cheese.
Combine remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, vinegar, and remaining ingredients. Stir well with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture evenly over salad.
Anyone else every had a run-in with Killer Quinoa? What’s your favorite grain?