Lemon Farro with White Beans and Broccoli

Lemon Farro with White Beans and Broccoli | Lattes & Leggings

When I first started finding my way in the kitchen six years ago, I had no clue how to cook vegetables. My pantry was stocked with canned goods, and that was about it. Very little fresh produce sitting in the fridge. Sauteeing fresh vegetables was one of the first cooking techniques I learned thanks to Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook which taught me the basics of Italian cooking. The first saute I made was a broccoli and green beans saute seasoned with garlic and chile flakes. Simple ingredients, but yet so flavorful. It became a nightly side for dinner, and I never bought another canned vegetable after that.

broccoli and white beans

This farro dish represents all of these same flavors and even more with the salty pecorino and brightness from the lemon. Farro is my go to substitute for pasta because it’s nutty and has a chewy texture. I look at this dish as an amped up version of my usual nightly dinner side. With the addition of creamy white beans, it’s a vegetarian one bowl dinner.

Lemon Farro with White Beans and Broccoli | Lattes & Leggings

Lemon Farro with White Beans and Broccoli
adapted from Weeknights with Giada

If you’re not a fan of spice, omit or use less red pepper flakes.

serves 4 to 6

1 cup farro
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt and black pepper
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon honey
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and the farro to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain and transfer the farro to a large serving bowl.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid is reduced in half and broccoli is crisp-tender. Add the beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed through. Transfer the broccoli mixture to the bowl with the farro. Add the pecorino.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chives. Pour the dressing over the farro and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad | Lattes & Leggings

Hello Spring! It’s been awhile, and oh how I’ve missed you. You can stay all year round if you’d like. It’s been a brutal winter. It’s been months since I’ve seen a farmer’s market outside my kitchen window. I can see asparagus and peas on the horizon. Until then, we have black beans and quinoa dressed in lime, honey, and warm scents of cumin.

serrano chile
Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad | Lattes & Leggings

The serrano chile kicks up the spice factor, and the red onion enhances that. However, I left the onion as optional because raw onion isn’t for everyone. The pepitas aka pumpkin seeds provide a nice crunchy contrast to the beans and avocado. The feta rounds out the flavors from its salty bite. I have to admit, I’m not a cilantro fan, but I imagine that it would be just as lovely as parsley.

Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad | Lattes & Leggings

Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

serves 4

1 cup quinoa
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup finely diced red onion (optional)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1 avocado, peeled and chopped

In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, give it a quick stir, and cover with a tight fitted lid. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to steam covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a spoon. All of the water should have absorbed. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the beans.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, cumin, serrano chile, and olive oil. Season with salt. Pour the dressing over the warm quinoa and beans. Toss to coat.

Add the feta, onion, parsley, pepitas, and avocado. Toss to coat. Season with salt to taste and serve. For any leftovers, bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Cacao Nib Muffins

Chocolate Cacao Nib Muffins | Lattes & Leggings

It’s been weeks of sluggishly cooking dinner to comfort our souls and nourish our bodies. Sharing bottles of wine at the kitchen table and fighting back tears as we find the strength to face the unknown. It’s crazy how your life can change at any minute. With a very sick cat, my kitchen counters have been covered in a sea of uneaten canned food. My food processor has turned into a cat food pureeing machine when it should be hot winter soup. Forgetting your own needs and pushing them aside to feed another. Sometimes fulfillment comes from not feeding ourselves, but the ability to feed others who need it more than we do to survive.

dark chocolate chips
chocolate muffin batter

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” – Ernestine Ulmer

Chocolate Cacao Nib Muffins | Lattes & Leggings

And so we have muffins. Indulgent muffins. More like dessert muffins with pockets of melted chocolate chips on the inside and a crunchy outer layer of cacao nibs. The cardamom is an unexpected flavor which makes these muffins not so ordinary. The first time I made these, I was going for a chocolate banana muffin. I made them with brown rice flour and decided the banana was too much, and brown rice flour no matter how much I want to like I just can’t. I can’t get past the gritty sandy texture. The banana was replaced with greek yogurt. The brown rice flour was replaced with a mix of almond flour and spelt flour for a lighter, moister crumb. I wanted an all almond flour muffin, but the muffins deflated after they came out of the oven. The spelt flour helps prevent that. The recipe makes six muffins which could easily be doubled. I just have no self control when it comes to chocolate.

Chocolate Cacao Nib Muffins | Lattes & Leggings
Chocolate Cacao Nib Muffins | Lattes & Leggings

Chocolate Cacao Nib Muffins

makes 6 muffins

1/3 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons spelt flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup dark muscovado sugar
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan with 6 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, add the flours, cocoa powder, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Whisk together until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla until combined. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter evenly in the muffin holders. Sprinkle the cacao nibs on top. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.