Three years ago this spring, I randomly agreed to go on this cool culinary press trip to San Antonio. I was totally pumped about the itinerary they had planned for us, couldn’t wait to explore the city, and could already taste the tacos. But, there was one catch — I didn’t know a single other soul going on the trip. Which pretty much guaranteed a mega spike in my anxiety level as I dropped off my luggage and walked down the hotel stairs for the happy hour “meet and greet” (<– code words for “an introvert’s worst nightmare”). But the second I walked into the restaurant, I remember spying a girl my age with warm smile across the room, so I made a beeline her way, and was so glad I did.
Anyone who’s ever met Andie will tell you that this girl positively radiates warmth and passion and joy, and her charismatic personality has a way of instantly setting people at ease, and that big heart of hers makes everyone feel so special and loved. But I also swore from that very first night that this girl was destined to become the next “Oprah”, because she knows how to ask the best questions, and listen as though she’s peering into the deep, deep, innermost depths of your soul. Truly. It’s remarkable, and I’ve never met anyone quite like her. (And — ahem — I still totally think she would rock it as a talk show host, if any of you network execs out there are reading.)
Anyway, at that very first happy hour back in 2013, I remember her sharing the big news with us about the double book deal she had just signed to write her memoir and an accompanying cookbook. I must have raised a little eyebrow when this gorgeous girl in her mid-twenties said this, because she immediately made some self-deprecating comment about, “Ohmygosh, I know, I seem so young to write a memoir, right?” But once she started telling us a little bit about her story — from some of the heartbreaking challenges she faced in childhood, to the refuge she found in food, to her journey from obesity to losing 135 pounds in college to then finding that even the weight loss didn’t completely satisfy, to then embarking on the even greater journey within herself to find self-acceptance and start from scratch redefining a new and healthy relationship with food — well, let’s just say I was blown away by her courage, and how much she has already learned in life by age 30. You can read all about her story in her memoir, It Was Me All Along. And I really hope you do, because her prose is beautiful and the story is beyond inspiring.
But today, I’m excited to be celebrating alongside her again because this week marked the release of her second book — an absolutely gorgeous COOKBOOK! It’s called Eating In The Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook, and it’s chocked full of delicious recipes that are true to Andie’s eating philosophy — mostly healthy, balanced out with a few indulgent “sometimes” treats sprinkled in. It’s also absolutely gorgeous, shot by one of my all-time favorite food photographers. And — my favorite — sprinkled with lots of great essays and stories and encouragement for how to foster a healthy relationship with food yourself.
Basically, it’s a gem, just like the author herself.
So anyway, today I thought I’d share one of the recipes that I dog-eared once the book hit my doorstep, and then immediately cooked up myself. It’s easy to make, nice and hearty (without being too heavy), easy to serve as a side or main dish, and absolutely delicious. It’s Andie’s Creamy Farro with White Beans & Kale.
Oh, but first, here’s a sneak peek of the cover. And that gorgeous smile that always makes the world a little brighter. Don’t you want to be friends with her, too? :)
Alright, so now let’s get to the recipe. The main ingredient is one of my favorites — delicious, chewy, ancient farro. I’ve been obsessed with this hearty grain for quite awhile now, which I totally prefer to rice (especially in this recipe, sorry Chipotle) and love cooking in chicken stock for extra flavor.
If you happen to be gluten-free, though, you could substitute a cup of quinoa or rice or any other GF grains in place of the farro. (Just be sure to cook 1 cup of the dried rice/grain with the recommended amount of stock.)
Most of the cooking time is just devoted to the farro itself. But once it’s ready, just saute it up with some white beans, a few cheeses, mushrooms, garlic, shallot and kale…
…and soon, this hearty bowl will be yours to enjoy.
Feel free to add in some cooked chicken or another protein if you’d like. But otherwise, I thought this recipe stood totally well on its own as a nice and hearty vegetarian main dish, and I enjoyed the leftovers the next day just as much as the first. Definitely a winner, Andie!
So big congrats to her on this beautiful next chapter (literally) of her career. And I can’t wait to follow along for many more to come. ♥
This Creamy Farro with White Beans and Kale recipe is easy to make, nice and hearty, and absolutely delicious!
1 cup dry farro
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bunch kale, leaves chopped (about 4 cups chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the farro, stock, and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the grains are tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes.
Stir the beans into the hot grains. Add the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and stir until melted. Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned on one side, 3-4 minutes, then stir and cook until browned and tender on the other side, 3-4 minutes more. Transfer the mushrooms to a warm plate.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet along with the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
Stir the kale, mushrooms and parsley into the farro and beans and serve immediately, garnished with extra cheese if desired.
You make me really eager to try farro! It looks and sounds delicious.
Awesome Vivian — we hope you can give this a try! :)
Definitely sounds like the perfect main dish, or as a side or two for the following days!
Yes, it’s totally versatile! Andie is awesome, and so is her new book! :)
Wow! Love Andie’s cookbook! Thanks for the tip, Ali!
I have yet to try cooking farro myself, but I love it. I’ll have to give this recipe a try!
It’s so good, Andie is awesome! :)
Probably this was supposed to be named as a perfect vegetarian dinner. A bowl filled with a lot of goodies. Good recipe.
It’s seriously so good, Andie is amazing — we love her! :)
Oh I like white beans, they’re amazing. Will try the meal this weekend.
Awesome, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did! :)
Do you think this recipe would work well with frozen chopped kale too? Thanks!
We think it should — we hope you enjoy! :)
This is – no joke – the 4th blog I’ve read with a recipe from Andie’s new cookbook! I think the universe is trying to give me a sign! Thanks for sharing!
Awesome! And yes, we think you should totally get a copy. :D
This looks so hearty and healthy! I can’t wait to try! I love that it’s so simple, yet not boring. The leftovers would be so easy for me to take for lunches all week too!
It’s so yummy, Andie is amazing! :)
This looks delicious! I’ve never cooked with farro before, which variety did you use – whole, semi-pearled or pearled?
Thanks Felicity — we hope you enjoy this! :) We used Italian pearled farro.
I mean it when I say, I may have been able to write a memoir with tens of thousands of words, and a cookbook, too, but I’m speechless now. Ali, thank you from the bottom-most part of my heart for this kind post, for your incredible friendship, and every minute of support you’ve given me. I love you and I swear I did for the time we bonded in San Antonio.
There’s no one like you <3
I made this today – it was great, and so quick to make!
Farro is highly underrated; I almost always choose it over quinoa, barley, buckwheat, and even rice! I love how well it retains its texture but can still be made into a creamy dish. One of my favorite ways to make it is “farroto”–really similar to this but I stir it while it absorbs broth for the last part of cooking time. And the veggies are a must! Beautiful dish :)
Yes, we totally agree! And Farroto sounds brilliant — awesome idea! :D
Made this yesterday using the quick cooking farro from Trader Joe’s and it was delicious! Just bought the book to hopefully find more awesome recipes :) thanks!
Awesome Deanna — we’re glad you enjoyed it! Andie is amazing — you’ll love her book! :)
If there’s stock left at the end of the farro’s cooking time (not fully absorbed), do you drain it or leave it? Thanks
I made this last night- it was better than I even expected!
Do you have any nutritional information on this recipe?
We don’t Sandi, we’re sorry!
I made this for the first time and was a big hit in my house and have since given the recipe to other people to try!
We’re so happy to hear it was a hit, Lori! :)
This was delicious… my 14 yo nephew wouldn’t stop eating it!! I added Trader Joe’s fresh English Peas… blanched for a few seconds…I have to throw them in almost everything… they’re beautiful and pop in your mouth!! Extra garlic… just because! Will definitely be making this several times a month!! Yum!!
We’re so glad you enjoyed it!
Wow, I made this just as written and it was awesome! Thanks for a great dinner!
Thank you, Laura, we’re so glad you enjoyed it!
Is there a way to make this recipe vegan? It looks great!
Hi Kelly! To make this vegan, definitely use the vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock, and then you’d want to use a non-dairy (vegan) parmesan (not sure if they make a gruyere or something similar?) We hope this helps!
I tried this and it was so delicious! Definitely a go-to recipe from now on. I used the harvest grains blend from Trader Joes in place of the farro and added sweet Apple chicken sausage. Thanks for sharing!
Didn’t have mushrooms or gruyere so left them out. I did have some oven roasted cherry tomatoes so added them. WE loved the creamy consistency of the dish And we will definitely make it again
This was so delicious, hearty and comforting. Even my mushroom-hating husband loved it! I added some fresh thyme and red pepper flakes. Thanks for the recipe!
This recipe is absolutely amazing! I am loving every bit of it. The only thing I would have done different is cooked the beans for a little while so they don’t taste like they just came out of the can. Otherwise, I think its incredible and I will be making this again and again – YUM!
My husband loved it. It did take a lot more time to chop everything then stated. I thought it was good, but not an, “oh, I have to make this again.”
This recipe is fantastic! I will be making this a LOT! I followed the recipe exactly, which I never do, because I’d never cooked farro before, and it was divine.
I made this for lunch today, it was really good!
I used chicken broth because that’s what I had in my pantry it was super delicious !
So SO good! Will definitely be making this again. We did make this as a side dish, and I think from now on we’ll have this as a main meal, just because I wanted to eat MORE than a side dish portion. Thanks for sharing :)
My husband LOVED this dish. Very flavorful. He even ate it cold the next day!
Made a batch yesterday for a bbq and my husband ate it for dinner (with steak + veggies), breakfast (with an egg on top), lunch (with pork loin and roasted carrots), and dinner again tonight. He’s obsessed… and now this has made it to our weekly rotation. Super versatile side dish that’s way tastier. Thank you!!!
My daughter recently decided to become a vegetarian. I’ve had to rethink how I cook and am constantly looking for new recipes. I’m so glad I found this one! Not only did she love it, but my meat loving son and hubs also really liked it. We have made it several times! Yum!
I made this as written (although judging by the photos, my “small bunch of kale” was smaller than yours!) and it’s delicious! Both my husband and I really enjoyed it, and my middle kid (6yo) did too. Disregard the other two kids’ opinions; they’re ridiculously picky lately ;)
I’ve saved it to my recipe app (keepers only on there!) and look forward to making it more often this winter. Thanks Andie and Ali – I’ve got the cookbook on hold at the library!
So delicious! So easy! And most importantly, so satisfying.
We recently moved to a more plant based diet and have been looking for more substantive meals. I think this one fits the bill! Flavor, fill, and without a lot of fuss to prepare—that’s a win in our house!
I found it a dry, I think if I did it again I would skip the beans entirely then I think it would be an amazing low carb risotto sub. Keep it simple!
Just made this. I used lacinato kale, cashew-based vegan parmesan. Was so delicious. Thanks.
Really easy weeknight meal. I added some Portuguese linguica which put it over the top.
We’ve made this few times now and love it! The only changes I make are to use onion instead of shallot (we don’t usually have shallots on hand), and I set aside the mushrooms after sautéing as I’m the only one who likes mushrooms – I just add them to my plate when serving. Thanks for sharing!
This recipe is delicious. I changed it slightly because I didn’t have gruyere cheese. I used a combination of pecorino and parmesan and I fried halloumi and put it on top before serving. I also substituted chickpeas instead of the white beans. And used oyster mushrooms instead of bella mushrooms.
Thanks for the inspiration. I will definitely make this dish again.
I made this for dinner tonight, and my husband and I loved it! It’s combining so many things that I love–farro, mushrooms, kale, beans, and cheeses! The Gruyere really makes it extra yummy. I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while, and I’m glad we finally decided to try it, because this is a keeper. Thank you!
This recipe is SO good!! I have 2 seniors who I feed when I cook and they are suspicious of mushrooms, beans, kale, and whole grains, but they still like this dish enough that they have approved me adding it to the meal rotation. (I do chop the mushrooms teeny-tiny to hide them and avoid the “slime” factor that they dont’ like.) Because they have higher protein needs, I do add 2 shredded, unseasoned chicken breasts. The first time I made this, I only added the chicken and left out the salt. The second time, I used beans made from dried to cut the salt some more. Next time, we will do no-added salt broth, beans from dried, and not add the salt. Don’t get me wrong, it’s DELICIOUS with the salt, but we have to watch our intake. I’m hoping the salt and tang of the cheeses will let us keep this dish as part of our lower sodium diet. We liked it so much that I about to prep ingredients for it to make three freezer “meal kits” so we won’t have to wait for the beans or chicken next time.
I meant to give this 4 stars, not 3 – it was really very good!
Absolutely yummy. I omitted the dairy, due to allergy, though added nutritional yeast and Chao shreds (which melt fairly easily). Comforting, delicious, healthy and hearty. Thank you for the great recipe!
I just made this recipe for the 2nd time and love it so much. It is very flavorful and easy to put together for a dinner. My husband loves it, BTW.
I’m late to the game but this was delicious! I had already made farro and didn’t have the cheeses so I did have to change it a bit. I did things in reverse; I sautéed the mushrooms, shallots garlic and kale in olive oil. Then added the beans, then the farro to reheat. I needed a tad of stock, too. I topped it with crumbled feta. My daughters loves it, too! Thank you for a new family recipe!
So good! I used Trader Joe’s 10 minute Farro cooked in chicken broth. Didn’t have Gruyère so used a creamy Swiss I had. My husband who is a big meat eater said it was one of his favorite meals!!
I love these greens and grains salads. They usually include something sweet and sour, like mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, or fruit. Would any of these improve this dish? Wondering if anyone has tried adding any of these. Thanks.
This recipe is amazing. I added some chicken to it. I will make again.