Artichokes and Lemon Farro
Spring is an exciting time with the tulips and floral trees blooming, and of course, the beautiful artichokes being in season! To be honest, I have not ventured into taking apart a fresh artichoke just yet, but still love enjoying them outside of the kitchen. I prefer the frozen version at home for its simplicity and lack of oils and salts used in the can or jar.
Artichokes have been enjoyed since ancient Roman times being used as a digestive aid. We can thank the dietary fiber called Inulin for its benefits in promoting healthy gut bacteria growth and lowering of cholesterol. Other nutrients found in artichokes include vitamins C and K, and folate.
Growing up I used to make a favorite dish with my mother including artichokes with chicken, lemon juice, black olives, and steamed rice. To update it as a vegetarian (and healthier) version I substituted cannelini beans for the chicken and a heartier whole grain, Farro, for the white rice. In addition, pureeing half of the bean serving can make a great thickener for sauce without using flour to build a roux . I used green olives in this recipe, but kalamata olives would have been an excellent option too. Next time I will add roasted red peppers for its gorgeous pop of color and taste!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 cups Farro, uncooked
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 12oz bag frozen artichokes
- 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
- 1 can cannelini beans
- 1/2 cup white wine
- juice of one lemon (extra lemon if desired)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot for the farro. Sautee the cumin seeds and farro to toast before boiling, about 3 minutes. Make sure the farro coated with oil and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the water to the farro and cumin seeds and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook based on your package's instructions (my farro from Trader Joe's suggested 10 minutes).
- While the farro is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium high heat and saute the capers and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Add in the artichokes, half of the white beans, and olives, saute for 3-5 minutes until the artichokes are cooked through. Pour in the white wine and and juice of the lemon, let simmer until the most of the liquid evaporates.
- While the wine is simmering, pour in the remainder of the white beans into a food processor and blend until pureed to a sauce consistency.
- Once the white wine is cooked off, pour in the pureed beans and spinach into the saucepan and let simmer. Continue until the spinach is wilted, only 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- The farro should be done at the same time as the artichoke dish; if done sooner, just remove from heat and set aside.
- The artichokes can either be mixed in with the farro or spooned over.
- Feel free to squeeze more lemon on top for more flavor as desired. Can even sprinkle red pepper flakes on top for an extra kick!