Oil Free Vegan Tex-Mex Farro Skillet!
Turn a cup of humble farro into a deliciously satisfying and hearty Tex-Mex dish. This healthy and tasty Oil Free Vegan Tex-Mex Farro Skillet is brimming with plant-based goodness like onions, garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, pinto beans, farro, and corn bathed in a loaded Tex-Mex flavored dish that the whole family will enjoy.
Whole Food Plant Based, Vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients.
Hi there, Ameera here!
Farro is hearty, slightly chewy, and filling! We were all about trying to use up our garden abundant zucchini, and this dish makes for a healthy and flavorful option. Mom was all about those yummy Tex-Mex flavors so that is how this beauty came to be!
Farro is not gluten free. If you are looking for a similar, ball park, gluten free version, check out our Tex-Mex Spicy Veggie Rice skillet.
Tips for Success:
- Flavor Profile: This dish has a Tex-Mex flavor profile.
- Farro Tenderness: Farro is traditionally a little chewy or ‘toothy’. The level of chewiness in within the cook’s control. We felt that the 35 minutes cooking time (in total) allowed for deliciously tender/chewy farro. Presoaking the farro also helps. If you feel that the farro is still too chewy, continue to simmer, covered, until the farro reaches the desired tenderness just keeping in mind that farro is a hearty grain that has some chewiness to it.
- Pinto Bean Substitute: You can pretty much substitute with your favorite bean in this recipe.
- Petite Diced Tomatoes and Corn: If you wish you can substitute the petite diced tomatoes for fire roasted petite diced tomatoes and the corn for fire roasted corn. We did not; however, if you have them on hand, these substitutions will add great flavor.
- Jalapeno Pepper: You can easily add a diced jalapeno pepper if you are looking to kick the heat up in this dish.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes. We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity (from the petite diced tomatoes) without losing the tomatoey flavor. When you add it, the mixture may bubble up, then settle down as it neutralizes the acidity. However, if you prefer that ‘tinny’ flavor that comes from canned tomatoes, then leave out the baking soda or perhaps use a tiny pinch.
- Watery Dish: After simmering for 35-40 minutes, remove from the stove and allow to stand for 10 minutes. At first, the dish may appear watery. That is OK. The time allowed to sit will allow the farro a chance to continue to soak in the flavor and liquids of the dish.
- Low Fat Dish Expectations: This dish is designed to be a low-fat dish. It is not going to taste as decadent as a dish that has a higher fat content. It is very delicious for what it is and that is a low-fat dish. We want to make sure the reader understands this when contemplating making this dish. The addition of chopped avocados when serving takes the dish over the top.
- Oil-Free Recipes: This skillet dish has great flavor. Because it is low in fat, we suggest tasting it 3 times before adding any additional seasonings. Oil-free, low-fat dishes tend to build on the palate. By tasting this dish 3 times, you have a better chance of not over-seasoning or under-seasoning it. Recipes with oil coat the palate making the spices and herbs feel smooth and more pleasing. Removing oil from dishes requires more finesse to ensure that a dish is properly seasoned. Tasting a dish 3 times allows the cook to better understand the flavor profile and if the flavor of the dish builds on the front-end or back-end of the palate.
- Amount of Sea Salt: Our family was completely divided over the amount of sea salt that this dish needed to be properly seasoned. We ultimately landed on 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt. Please feel free to season to suit your own personal tastes.
Leftovers and Freezing:
Leftovers will generally keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Store in a covered container. Reheating can be done on the stovetop or in the microwave.
This dish can be frozen.
Pantry Products Used:
- Miso: We used Miso Master Organic Mellow White Premium Lite Miso, Certified Gluten Free. Miso really lends itself to balancing flavors when you don’t use oil. You can also use chickpea miso for a soy free version.
- Chili Powder: Feel free to use your favorite chili powder, just be sure to select a mild one and not one that has a lot of heat to it.
- Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
Kitchen Products Used:
- Large ceramic-lined or non-stick skillet with a tight-fitting lid
This healthy and tasty Oil Free Vegan Tex-Mex Farro Skillet is brimming with plant-based goodness that makes for a great whole grain meal.
- 1 cup farro, rinsed and soaked
- 1 medium yellow onion, fine dice
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 ½ cups zucchini, unpeeled, small dice
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon miso *
- 1 – [ 14 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (+/-)
- 1 – [ 15 oz. can ] pinto beans, drained and rinsed *
- 1 – [ 15 oz. can ] corn, drained
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder (+/-) *
- 1 ¼ teaspoons smoked paprika (+/-)
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin (+/-)
- ½ to 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (+/-) *
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- Chopped avocados
- Rinse the farro really well, then place the farro into a bowl and cover with cold tap water. Allow to soak until ready to add in Step 5. When ready to add, drain the farro really well before adding.
- Place the Herb/Spice Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well. Set aside.
- In a large ceramic/enamel lined skillet, Dutch oven, or non-stick skillet, add the onions, bell pepper, and zucchini, sauté over medium-high heat for approximately 7 to 9 minutes to soften. Add a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking and burning.
- Add the minced garlic and Herb/Spice Mix, sauté for 30 seconds stirring constantly, then add all the remaining Base Ingredients (except the pinto beans, corn, and baking soda). Increase the heat, stir well to incorporate the miso, bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Add the baking soda, pinto beans, and corn, stir well to incorporate.
- Stir in the farro, press the farro down into the liquids, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lid and allow to simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.After 5 minutes, test the farro for tenderness. (See notes on farro tenderness).
- Remove from the stove and allow to set for 10 minutes undisturbed to allow the flavors to marry. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro and/or chopped avocados.
*Please reference the blog post for Tips for Success, Pantry Items Used, Storage and Freezing, and Kitchen Products Used.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: 4 to 6 (makes 7 ½ cups)
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