Smoky Farro and Grilled Pineapple Bowl is made with nutty farro tossed in a smoky cashew-based sauce and paired with grilled pineapple, red bell pepper and lots of fresh torn basil. This is not your average weeknight meal.
The Pantry & Fridge Challenge
It was a pantry and fridge challenge week at my house which means I was forcing myself to use what I already had vs. making a blind run to Whole Foods. My pantry challenges usually result in something unexpected and fabulous coming out of my kitchen.
As you can see, I am still working through my party pack of shishito peppers that made their debut in the Blistered Shishito Peppers & Papaya sushi roll a couple of weeks ago.
I’m actually pretty proud of the fact that I’ve used almost all of the shishitos because I bought them expecting that I’d use 2 or 3 for the sushi roll and end up tossing the rest.
I also had a bell pepper that was asking to to get used up plus a partial Fresno pepper and leftover grilled pineapple.
Whole Food Plant Based
For the most part I stick to a whole food plant based diet. That doesn’t mean vegetarian or vegan. I eat meat, fish and cheese. I just focus on eating real food.
One of my favorite magazines for inspiration is Forks Over Knives. You can grab this at the Whole Foods checkout. This magazine is dedicated to whole food plant based recipes and is a good place to start if you are interested in losing weight or addressing your diabetes.
It’s Not Stealing
Forks Over Knives also has a great app with an easy recipe finder. On Sundays, I make a list of all the perishable things I need to use up plus things getting old in my freezer or close-to-empty stuff in the pantry. I pick an ingredient, search, and browse until I see something that looks good.
I think I was searching for things to do with my last few slices of pineapple. I found their Fresh Pineapple and Barley Salad which looked intriguing. That recipe became the inspiration for Smoky Farro and Grilled Pineapple Bowl. They are similar, but the good (or bad) thing about other people’s recipes is that if you change just one ingredient, it’s not stealing.
I just call that borrowing.
This recipe called for a sauce that would absorb into the barley made from soaked cashews. For all of you that love cream-based sauces but who don’t love the fat and calories that go with them, pay attention.
Using soaked cashews as the base for a creamy sauce is quick and easy. And vegan. Sometimes trying to intentionally eat vegan is hard, and sometimes it just happens by accident.
Smoky Farro and Grilled Pineapple Bowl
Instead of barley, I used farro for this Smoky Farro and Grilled Pineapple Bowl. The sauce is made from quick-soaking cashews that got processed with garlic, lime juice, smoked paprika and a pinch of fiery Aleppo pepper. Once the farro is cooked, the cashew sauce gets mixed in while it’s still warm so that the farro will absorb the flavor.
Other than that, the only prep was to chop some bell pepper, grill pineapple slices in the cast iron skillet and tear up some fresh basil. I threw a few blistered shishito peppers in just because I had them but they are definitely optional (but they were actually really really good with this).
I am kinda picky about my greens. Arugula is my go-to but lately I’ve been down on arugula simply because the store brands I have access to are terrible. This week, I decided to try Organic Girl’s Protein Greens. It’s a mix of baby kale, baby bok choy and baby spinach but with the added bonus of sweet pea shoots and leaves.
When I worked at Whole Foods last year, this blend would literally fly off the shelf. Now I know why. I wanted to add some freshness to my Smoky Farro and Grilled Pineapple Bowl so I plated it on a bed of protein greens. It was the perfect contrast to the smoky farro and sweet pineapple.
I gave the Smoky Farro and Grilled Pineapple Bowl and light toss and finished it with sliced almonds. I don’t even like pineapple that much but I found myself almost wishing I had used more. Made this two nights in a row and decided it was blog worthy. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup farro
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch aleppo pepper
- salt and pepper
- olive oil cooking spray
- 3 slices pineapple
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 4 shishito peppers (optional)
- 1 handful fresh basil, torn
- 2 cups salad greens
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Place 1/2 cup raw cashews in a cup and cover with boiling water (just heat a mug of water in the microwave for a minute or so and pour over cashews).
- Place the farro and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and season lightly with salt. Once it comes to a strong simmer, lower heat to medium and cook until the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
- After 5 minutes, drain the cashews and transfer to a small food processor. Add 1 clove of smashed garlic, juice of 1/2 of a lime, smoked paprika and aleppo pepper. Process until smooth, scraping sides occasionally as needed. Add a tbsp or 2 of water and/or more lime to taste and if needed to loosen up. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and seared pineapple until golden and charred on each side, about 5 minutes. Add shishito peppers if using for last 3 minutes. Remove from pan and chop both into bite-sized pieces.
- Once the farro is cooked, drain any excess water. Add cashew sauce to the farro and stir to combine. Add the pineapple, bell pepper and shishito peppers and stir again. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add a handful of fresh torn basil and about 2 cups of salad greens. Toss gently.
- Divide the farro salad between two serving bowls and top with sliced almonds and finish with another squeeze of lime juice.
Looking for other recipes like this one? Try Roasted Carrot and Farro Salad with Tarragon or Lemony-Dill Salmon Farro Salad.