Farro, vegetables, and animal protein

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Farro, vegetables, and animal protein

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Kaiser Permanente's medical office building in Stockton, give a talk on the benefits of shopping at farmers' markets, and do a cooking "demo" -- really just mincing some garlic, dicing an onion, making a red wine vinaigrette, and doing the cherry tomato slicing trick.

Present for this lunch time event was a reporter for the Stockton Record. This story ran today. 

One of the discussion points was how easy it is to make an inexpensive, tasty, and healthy dinner for little money and time. Why spend $50 - $60 out for a family of four when you can make this great dish in about 20 minutes? I shared a version of this recipe a few years ago. It's an oldie but goodie. I find farro, a whole grain with a nutty flavor, a lot easier to cook than brown rice. It never sticks to the pan.

Servings: 4


  • 1 cup farro
  • 8 cups baby spinach or arugula
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces leftover small chicken chunks or one can of light albacore tuna packed in water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. 
  2. Add the farro and cook until chewy tender - maybe 15 minutes or so. 
  3. Whisk the lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil together in a small bowl. 
  4. Drain the farro. 
  5. Toss it with the chicken, greens, tomatoes, and dressing. Season it to taste and enjoy. 

Save $35. Do this one extra time per week using various easy recipes. Multiply by 52. Put this number over your gross income and calculate the percent raise you gave yourself after taxes.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 327
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 43 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 32 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugars: 3 g
  • Sodium: 169 mg (without added salt)
  • Protein: 25 g