Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grapefruit is a Great Fruit!

Whenever I am craving something sweet in the morning, I automatically picture myself biting into a big, juicy grapefruit. And not that I am a “half of a grapefruit in the morning” type of person, but Ireally do enjoy it as part of a balanced meal.

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

Grapefruits are a great source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol and lower the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer. Grapefruits are part of the citrus family of fruits, and contain Lycopene and vitamin C- both powerful antioxidants. In addition, these big guys have vitamin A, potassium, and folate, vitamins and minerals that are good for eyesight, heart regularity and muscle contraction, and prenatal health, respectively. Some research suggests that grapefruits act to cleanse the body of toxins by increasing the work of some key liver enzymes. Although not scientifically proven, many would argue that grapefruits have metabolism-boosting powers! Whatever they facts may be, grapefruits always seem to do the body well. And the difference between white, pink, and ruby red? As we always preach…the deeper the color, the more nutrients inside, although all 3 are great choices!

**Note: Unfortunately, grapefruits may negatively interact with certain medications, due to their inhibition of a certain intestinal enzyme. So always check with your physician and pharmacist to be aware of all possible food/drug interactions!

Grapefruits can be found all year, but the height of the season is winter into spring, and the US is the largest producer, worldwide.

Large grapefruit (4.5 inch diameter) has only 53Kcal, 2g fiber!

How to pick it?

Look for a firm fruit that has some elasticity when pushed. At room temperature, they should smell sweet, and although some discoloration in fine (in fact color spots often mean optimal ripeness!), look for fruits where the skin is smooth, and not dried out.

What to do with grapefruit?

1. Eat it plain as a snack! I peel it and place it in Tupperware to bring to work as an on-the-go snack, or I bring it to work whole and snack on it at my desk. If the taste is a little bitter for you, add a little sweetness (be it Splenda, Truvia, sugar in the raw, or just plain honey).

2. Supreme it and add it to green salads or grain salads. Don’t know how? Watch this

3. Make fresh grapefruit juice; place some in ice trays and make little grapefruit ice pops!

4. Make a salad dressing, using fresh grapefruit juice instead of vinegar

5. Make a fresh grapefruit martini

6. Make it into a dessert- baked grapefruit:
Preheat oven to 375F, cut grapefruit in half lengthwise, cut out middle white part from each half and loosen sections. Sprinkle both sides with 1 Tbsp honey and 2 tsp cinnamon (total); bake for 10-15 minutes.

--Samantha Jacobs, RD CDN

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Acqua Al Due comes to NYC...

I was feeling very nostalgic a few nights ago and was remembering my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. For anyone who has visited Florence, you have likely dined at the famous Acqua al Due restaurant for the incredible pasta sampler or the amazing blueberry steak aka. Filetto al Mirtillo. My memories were so strong, I felt compelled to recreate it!

Why have you done a good thing?

Blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses that fight heart disease and cancers. Perfect for breakfast or sweet enough for a dessert, blueberries also have a megadose of vitamin C and fiber. Although best in the summer time, we can thankfully enjoy these delectable berries all year round thanks to frozen berries!

But what about what goes under the sauce?

Despite research from the 80s and 90s giving beef a bad wrap, beef is a fantastic source of iron, protein, and vitamin B12, all of which are particularly important for growing children, pregnant/breastfeeding mothers, and menstruating women. As it can be high in saturated fat (which can lead to high cholesterol) and calories, it is important to pick the right cut, preparation, and portion size. Recommendation from the American Heart Association include:

1) Choose cuts of meat that have the least amount of visible fat and trim this visible fat off of meats. Buy "choice " or " select " grades of beef rather than "prime." Choose from the following lean cuts of meat:

Filet Mignon, Top loin steak, Porterhouse steak, T-bone steak, Flank Steak, 95% lean ground beef, Top sirloin steak, Chuck arm pot roast, Tenderloin, Wedge bone sirloin steak, Eye round, Top round, Bottom round roast, Round tip roast, Shank cross cuts

2) Prepare meats using broiling, grilling, baking, roasting, and braising methods.

3) Keep to a serving size of beef about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hands. Make the rest of your plate ½ full of non-starchy veggies and ¼ plate a low-fat starch.

How often should you eat red meat?

Based on research that indicates that frequent intake of beef has been shown to be associated with obesity, heart disease, and cancers, I would say beef should not be an everyday meal. However it is important to understand that this research is thought to mainly be related to displacement of leaner vegetarian sources of protein. So, I recommend to patients to make red meat a special food, limiting intake to 1 time per week (choosing the best quality meat), eating fish and vegetable sources of protein as much as possible.

Blueberry Steak (Serves 4)

1 lb Flank Steak

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 bag of frozen blueberries or 2 cups of fresh blueberries

½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp flour or cornstarch

In a small saucepan, combine berries, vinegar, honey, ketchup, flour (if using cornstarch add your slurry), and pinch of salt and pepper. Heat on low until reduces and thickens (about 30 minutes).

Set oven to high broil. Rub steak on both side with a pinch of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes (depending on thickness and how well done you like your steak; 4 minutes for medium). Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Slice and pour sauce over steak and serve.

So have a dinner party and enjoy this delicious meal the Italian way; start with a small serving (1 cup cooked) of fresh pasta followed by a few slices of this steak with a generous serving of veggies on the side. PS. It goes great with a small glass of Chianti…

--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who Said You Can’t Compare Apples and Oranges?

Ask any dietitian, or any person for that matter, and they will tell you that fruit is healthy. Fruit is a good food to eat on a diet, right? Recommendations say eat 5 a day, is it zero calories? And are all fruits made the same? Not exactly, but…

Why have you done a good thing?

Fruits are one of the main food groups in our diet, necessary for so many of our body’s functions. They are low calorie, full of fiber, fat-free…and sweetly delicious! Fruits are filled with vitamins and minerals, often including powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, and potassium. Large-scales studies have seen associations between high fruit and vegetable intake and decreased risk of many diseases such as cancer and heart disease. And although most people know they are great for you, not everyone knows exactly how they compare…take a look!

Apple (medium size)

  • 95 Kcal
  • 4.4g fiber
  • Good For: On-the-go snacking

Orange (medium size)

  • 62 Kcal
  • 3.1g fiber
  • Good for: snacking at your desk (start the peel with a knife)

Banana (medium size)

  • 105 Kcal
  • 3.1g fiber
  • Good for: breakfast on-the-go (good addition to a b-fast bar!)

Grapes (1 cup)

  • 104 Kcal
  • 1.4g fiber
  • Good For: Pre-portioned sweet snacking (10 in a zip-top bag and you're good to go)

Blueberries (1 cup)

  • 83 Kcal
  • 3.5g fiber

Strawberries (1 cup, halves)

  • 49 Kcal
  • 3g fiber

Raspberries (1 cup)

  • 64 Kcal
  • 8g fiber

All Berries Good For: putting in cereal (hot or cold), adding to Greek yogurt, eating solo, making a home-made jam sans-sugar, mixing with Cool Whip as a fat-free and low-cal dessert, etc, etc…the options for these anti-oxidant & fiber-filled bite size goodies are endless.

How much to have?

Aim for 3-5 servings per day, but remember, 1 medium (likely closer to large) size fruit is often 2 servings- think the size of a baseball as 1 serving. 1/2 cup chopped or canned fruit is also 1 serving.

One more thing, the brighter the better. The deeper the color, the more nutrients the fruit likely contains, and go for the rainbow! Each different color fruit represents different vitamins and minerals, so a wide variety of fruity colors can assure you are getting the nutrition you need!

While this list of fruits can go on and on…I think you get the main point: although each fruit may shine for a different reason (be it low-cal, fiber content, convenience, or pure taste) all fruits rock, especially as part of a healthy diet!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

Monday, March 21, 2011

Your Secret Ingredient Dining Out Guide: The Big Salad

Elaine thought she had done a good thing by ordering the big salad. But had she? Build-your-own salad joints are a dime-a-dozen and are a great choice, most of the time…How do you build the healthiest salad?

Why have you done a good thing?

Most of us reach for a salad for our weekly lunches or safe dining-out choice. Salads are a great way to get lots of veggies into your diet, especially if you don’t have time at dinner to do so. They are also a great way to try new veggies and keep your lunches well-portioned. Salads can be a balanced part of your diet, as long as you are making the right choices. Here is a dining out guide to help you navigate that salad bar in just 5 easy steps:

1) Choose dark greens. When picking the base for your salad, the richer the color the better. In general with fruits and veggies, the more colorful, the more phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Choose baby spinach, mescaline, arugula, romaine lettuce or a combination of these leaves.

What to skip: Iceberg lettuce.

2) Add a lean protein. Grilled chicken, turkey, shrimp, salmon, 1-2 hardboiled eggs, or ½ cup of beans to make your salad a satisfying meal. Watch carefully when making your salad to keep portions of chicken and fish to be about the size of the palm of your hand.

What to consider: Just a scoop of tuna fish, egg or chicken salad can be really calorically dense due to lots of mayo, especially when made in restaurants. If you are trying to lose weight, this isn’t the best choice. If making your salad at home, limit mayo to 1-2 tsp and this can be a healthy protein choice.

What to skip: Fried proteins as they are very high in fat and calories.

3) Create a colorful plate. Feel free to add lots of non-starchy veggies and fruits such as cucumbers, peppers, carrots, onions, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, beets, apples, pears.

What to consider: Starchy veggies and dried fruits including corn, peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and raisins, as well as grain salads, are great to add to your salads you just have to keep the portions under control. Limit this to 1 scoop or about ½ cup serving. Choose whole grains as much as possible.

What to skip: Potato, pasta, or coleslaw salads have lots of mayo and oil, making them not the healthiest choices.

4) Don’t forget some healthy fat! Fat can make your salad very satisfying. Good sources include avocado, nuts such as walnuts or almonds, cheese, or seeds. The important thing here is portion control. 1 serving of avocado is 1-2 thin slices; nuts and seeds should be limited to ¼ cup; limit cheese intake to 1 tbsp and try to pick low-fat cheese if possible (Hint: it may be easier to choose fresh mozzarella balls and only add 1-2.

What to skip: Bacon bits, croutons, crispy noodles excessive amounts of cheese.

5) Dress it up well. The best salad dressing choices are oils and vinegars, rather than prepared dressings. Serving size is the most important thing here, limiting oil to 1-2 tbsp. Feel free to have as much vinegar as you want. Second choice options include balsamic vinegars, vinaigrettes, and Ginger dressings in Japanese settings.

What to consider: Processed dressings like Italian or fat free versions of creamy dressings are loaded with chemicals and sugars. Better to have a little of the real thing or pure oil and vinegar than processed foods!

What to skip: Creamy dressings like blue cheese, ranch, thousand island, Cesar, Russian, French

Feel confident that you making healthy choices the next time you go to the salad bar!

--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don’t be a chicken…try a chicken meatball!

Every time I have a craving for spaghetti and meatballs, the dietitian in me pops out to say, “make them turkey meatballs” and “do you really need the pasta, too?” However, sometimes turkey meatballs can be so dry, leaving me wanting the real thing. After watching my cousin make chicken meatballs for her toddler, I realized that she had done a good thing…

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

Chicken meatballs are so moist, especially compared to turkey! They are also lower in fat and saturated fat. Saturated fat can clog arteries and raise your bad cholesterol, so it is definitely wise to limit it when you can. It is found naturally in animal products, such as (from most saturated fat to least) beef, turkey, chicken, pork, and fish. Eggs also contain this saturated fat, which is why the American Heart Association recommends limiting whole eggs to 3 times per week (egg whites are always ok!). And one more thing about these little chickies, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially iron- which carries oxygen around the body, and B12- which helps our body’s metabolism thrive.

So, back to the benefits of chicken meatballs, let’s take a look… (per 4 oz serving)

Beef: 308 calories, 21g fat (8.3 saturated)

Turkey: 266 calories, 15g fat (3.8 saturated)

Chicken, white meat only: 210 calories, 14g fat (3 saturated)

All three are good sources of protein (average 25g pro)

*Although you can use a leaner turkey breast, I have found it to be a little dry for meatballs! However, the white meat chicken seems to be just fine for me.

So, after the slight indulgence of spaghetti with chicken meatballs, the good news is, you can re-use them as a “get back to the healthy routine” meal. Have them for dinner the next night with a small baked potato or ½ cup of brown rice. Pack those little guys for lunch on top of a field green salad, or squeeze them in between 2 slices of fiber-filled whole grain bread. Or, make a stir fry including chopped chicken meatballs and all the veggies you can find. Serve them in a sweet and sour sauce with toothpicks at your next cocktail party; try Swedish chicken meatballs! Have a mini-me running around the house? Kids seem to love chicken meatballs, so freeze a bunch and pop them out when you are in a pinch.

With all of these great ideas, there is no need to be chicken, try chicken meatballs tonight!

Here's a recipe...

1lb ground chicken, white meat only

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and form into small meatballs. Place them on a non-stick sprayed baking sheet and add a little more spray on op of the meatballs. Bake on 400 F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PASTABILITIES: Never out of a box again

When I was a child, I was totally spoiled. Never did I ever have to eat Mac and Cheese out of a box. In fact, when I went over to friends' houses, I didn’t understand how cheese came in powder form and why my dinner was neon orange. But traditional homemade mac and cheese isn’t the best choice either. With Mac and Cheese being my favorite comfort food, when I became a dietitian, I learned to turn this dish into a healthier, low-fat choice. Here’s how…

Why have you done a good thing?

As I’ve said before, my mom taught me at a young age the value of making things from scratch. Mac and cheese out of a box, although fast and easy, is loaded with sodium, calories, and chemicals. And as I always tell my clients, if you can’t pronounce it, than don’t eat it! Don’t be fooled by the organic versions either. Although these brands contain less chemicals, one serving contains salt for the entire day! By making your own, not only can you control the sodium, but you also can control the fiber by choosing to use whole-wheat pasta and adding veggies, and you can also reduce the fat and calories by using skim milk and reduced fat cheeses. Homemade mac and cheese, when following a recipe such as the one below, can be a great source of calcium as well as a way to encourage you and your kids to eat more veggies in a delicious way.

So try making your own! Your kids will greatly appreciate it…And so will you when you are treating yourself to some comfort food. Here is my personal recipe:

Nutritiously Delicious, Yet Simple, Homemade Low-Fat Mac and Cheese

(serves 8 – and if children are eating, can serve 12)

1 lb whole-wheat penne or elbows (recommend Barilla Plus or Whole Foods 365 Brand)

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp canola oil

4 tbsp all-purpose flour

3.5 cups skim milk

6 oz reduced fat extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (recommend Cabot 75% reduced fat)

6 oz Monterey Jack reduced fat cheese, grated

½ cup whole-wheat plain breadcrumbs (recommend Whole Foods 365 Brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, cook pasta in salted boiling water until just shy of al dente. Drain and place pasta in a casserole dish.

In a medium pot, melt butter completely with oil together on low heat. Whisk in flour and cook on low heat for 3 minutes or until fragrant, creating a roux (your thickening agent for the cheese sauce). Add milk slowly to make a béchamel, whisking together milk with butter/oil mixture. On low heat, allow béchamel to thicken to sauce-like consistency. Do not let bechamel boil. Once thickened, add cheese to make the cheese sauce, stirring until all cheese is melted.

Pour cheese sauce over pasta in casserole dish until combined. Make sure all pasta is well coated with sauce. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes. Serve in 1-1.5 cup portions with a big side of veggies.

**If you want to bump up the nutrition factor, consider adding veggies too! Suggestions: peas, mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, onion, zucchini, bell pepper.

**Wanna make it more upscale? Add lobster, shrimp, spinach or other leafy greens, butternut squash, or a couple of ounces of decadent cheese, such as Gruyere.

We are launching PASTABILITIES as another new series, bringing you healthy, easy pasta recipes. Don’t be afraid of these carbohydrates; in small portions, pasta can be a great source of whole grains, veggies, and protein. We’ll show you healthy spins on traditionally pastas, as well as new ideas for your pasta dinners.

--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Secret Ingredient Dining-Out Guide: Sake it to me

As some of you may know, I spend a lot of time in Mexico City. The last time I was there, I did something that really surprised me- I ordered sushi at the mall food court- yes, I’m sorry to admit that it’s true! That’s how much I love sushi (and miss it when I can’t find it on each and every city block), but more importantly…

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

Sushi is the perfect cuisine for so many different occasions. Getting together with the girls, ordering in solo, or a cocktail party! Sushi can be filled with the heart-healthy, triglyceride-lowering, nail/hair growth promoting omega 3’s and monounsaturated fats. It can also be a terrific source of lean protein, whole grains, and fiber. Here’s how to make the best of sushi night.

1. Start with the edamame. Take that “I’m starving” edge off with some fiber and protein-filled soybeans.

2. Appetizer

  • Think salads (ginger dressing on the side and use sparingly), steamed dumplings, tar-tar, ceviche, fish (miso black cod is a favorite of mine), and skewers (meat and/or veggie).
  • Try not to order traditional fried dumplings and anything with the words “tempura” or “crispy”- that means deep-fried.

3. Main Course

  • Think sashimi (raw fish) or a mixture of sashimi and sushi (raw fish over rice), including some fatty fishes like salmon or tuna; brown rice rolls (whole grains) with fillings of fish, avocado, and vegetables, “teriyaki dinners” with chicken or fish- sauce on the side to save on sugar and sodium!
  • Avoid the roll fillings “crunch” or “tempura flakes” (fried) and cream cheese- like in Philadelphia rolls to save on saturated fats. Know that when you see “spicy” it means mayonnaise! But hey, who doesn’t like spicy tuna? I do. So let’s say only order 1 of those rolls.
  • In terms of soy sauce- definitely stick to low-sodium! And even so, you wouldn’t believe
  • the amount of salt it still has- 500-700mg per 1 T serving (up to ~30% of your daily recommended intake). Imagine if you have 2 or even 3 tablespoons? That’s enough sodium for the entire day! SO, look for the bottle with the green top, and pour out 1 T of soy sauce into the little dish and make it last! It can really help to dip the chopsticks into the soy sauce and then putting it on the sushi rather than dipping the whole thing in, which allows it to soak up that salt.

4. Drinks - Think light beer & sake. If you followed the above rules there is no reason why you can’t indulge in a glass of sake or a cold light beer (in moderation, of course- and instead of dessert!) I love unfiltered sake like Nigori- why not give it a try!

Sushi in a Lunchbox?

Did you know that sushi rolls make a great packed lunch. Send your kids to school with a veggie-filled roll, the perfect finger food that will stay fresh in a lunchbox. They are also easy to eat, making it a good for you work-o-holics who don’t stop for a lunch break.

And the best part? It is so simple to make at home! All you need is some seaweed, which can be found at almost every supermarket and specialty food store, and a bamboo sushi roller, which is pretty cheap, and can be found at any kitchen supply store, such as Gourmet Garage, Broadway Panhandler, Chef Central, etc.

Check out this sushi rice recipe from Alton Brown- so simple! Fill your rolls with whatever you have lying around the house, who said sushi is only raw fish? Be creative and enjoy!

Look out for other Your Secret Ingredient Guides to Dining-Out as part of a new series! Want a specific type of restaurant? Let us know about it!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A tropical fruit vacation from citrus…

In the winter time, fruit choices can get monotonous. Although citrus of all varieties is delicious, sometimes you long for a juicy berry or sweet melon. Luckily, there is a tropical solution to this: kiwis!

Why have you done a good thing?

A delectable cross between strawberries and honeydew melon, kiwis are a perfectly portioned 90 calorie snack. Like our favorite winter citrus, oranges, kiwis are packed full of vitamin C, a great anti-oxidant to help fight off colds and flues. Research has shown that vitamin C can reduce the severity of conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma as well as prevent conditions such as colon cancer. Kiwis are also a fantastic source of the antioxidant vitamin E, making kiwis super fruits full of antioxidant protection! Kiwis are also a great food for prevention of heart disease, shown to reduce triglyceride levels, with natural blood thinners including omega-3s in their seeds. Kiwis are also perfect for kids (or some of you adults) who don’t like green veggies to get some green color into your diet.

How can I eat kiwis?

I personally love to cut kiwis in half and dig in with a spoon. But you can also incorporate this super fruit into your dishes. Check out this recipe:

Pineapple Kiwi Branzino (serves 2)

1 cup diced pineapple (fresh or canned in water)
2 kiwis, diced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or parsley if you hate cilantro)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 branzino fish filets

In a medium bowl, combine kiwi, pineapple, cilantro or parsley, lime juice and jalapeno pepper if using and toss to combine. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and sear fish for a couple of minutes on each side. Top with pineapple kiwi salsa and enjoy! Serve along side some brown rice, quinoa, or other whole grain for a complete dinner!

Don’t like fish? Try this salsa with chicken, pork, or even on top of eggs!

Other ideas?
-Add kiwis to a tropical fruit salad with citrus
-Toss with your grains and some nuts
-Top your salads with kiwi (especially spinach salads!)
-Mix kiwis into your Greek or plain yogurts

Tips for selecting kiwis:

Kiwis are like bananas; they need to ripen before you eat them. They should be slightly soft to the touch when they are ripe. Try putting kiwis in a paper bag with a banana to speed up ripening when you get home from the store.

--Amy Santo, MS RD

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

GRAINularity: Farro

When I was studying abroad in Florence during college, I learned about this grain called Farro that Italians love to cook with, especially for breakfast! You’ve heard about it on the news, and possibly in a few New York Times articles, as it is now one of the new hot grains. But is it a healthy choice?

Why have you done a good thing?

Farro is popular amongst our Mediterranean friends for a reason; farro is a great whole grain, nutty tasting choice. Rich in huge amount of fiber and protein per serving, this is a nutrient dense grain. Farro is also loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and betain, which can reduce inflammation, reducing risk for chronic diseases like heart disease. Also, many gluten intolerant individuals can still tolerate farro (although it is not advised for celiac patients). Found in whole form or milled in pastas, farro can be a complete part of any meal!

Try Farro for breakfast instead of oatmeal just like the Italians do! (serves 1)

1/2 cup whole grain farro

2 cup water

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp honey

½ cup apple

¼ cup walnuts

Boil water and add farro to boiling water until absorbed and al dente, this takes about 45 minutes. Add cinnamon, fruit, honey and walnuts and enjoy!

**Note: for faster cooking farro in the morning, purchase cracked farro for speedier cooking. Or cook in big batches at night when you have time and portion it out and microwave to warm up in the morning.

Farro Risotto (serves 4-6)

4 cups low sodium chicken stock + 2 cup water

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp and 1 tsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

6 oz dry white wine, like pinot grigio

1 cup farro

1 package of mushrooms, chopped

1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper

½ cup grated parmesan cheese.

To a large saucepan, gently warm stock and water until simmering. Keep covered to prevent evaporation. In a sauté pan, sauté mushrooms in 1 tsp olive oil. In a separate saucepan, melt butter with 1 tbsp olive oil and cook onion until translucent. Add wine and cook until mostly reduced. Add farro and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. When stock/water is simmering, add 1 ladle full at a time to farro, stirring constantly until all stock is absorbed and farro is al dente. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, cheese and serve.

**Don’t like mushrooms? Farro risotto can be made with any veggies you like: butternut squash, asparagus, the possibilities are endless.

Other ideas:

Combine farro with beans or legumes for a complete vegetarian meal.

Mix with pestos or salad dressings and veggies for a cold grain salad.

Make a whole grain pasta dinner with farro based pastas.

Mix farro into soups and stews.

Check out these recipes from to give you more ideas:

Where can I purchase farro?

You can purchase farro or farro based pastas at Whole Foods Market or speciality Italian markets. Prego!

--Amy Santo, MS RD