Vegan Farro Risotto with Lemon & Cashew Cream

I have seen farro risotto on restaurant menus but have never ordered it even though I love farro and risotto. I am a junky that derives pure pleasure from creatively experimenting with vegetarian and vegan meals; I get scared however, when these dishes appear too complex. Knowing that farro does not get naturally creamy like risotto, I figured a farro risotto would require more work, knowledge, and patience than I have as a cook who thrives on simplicity.

To get a creamy consistency, I figured farro risotto would require some kind of dairy or dairy substitute like a cashew cream. Although I frequent my favorite vegan restaurants in New York City including Candle 79 and Angelica Kitchen, I’ve never attempted to bring their recipe ideas home to play with because many of them involve cashew creams and other nut-based substitutes for dairy which scream daunting to me.

History behind me, last night I became brave. I purchased a bag of farro and resolved to dive into making farro risotto with cashew cream. As I strolled home the thought to add lemon to the recipe sounded interesting to me.

What You Need (one portion. If you can, use organic all natural ingredients)

  • ½ cup farro
  • 1 cup water (add more if needed)
  • 2 tbsps. Homemade cashew milk (thick but not cream)
  • ½ cup cashews
  • Enough water to cover cashews about ½-inch
  • ½ of a fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1tbsp. olive oil
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Salt to flavor
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup

1. Put the farro into a pot. Add water. Bring farro and water to a boil with a lid on (allow for some air so it doesn’t boil over) and then lower heat to simmer. Let simmer stirring occasionally until grains are plump and soft. As the farro absorbs the water, add more if needed so that you maintain a risotto-like consistency.

2. Soak cashews in enough water to cover them for 10-minutes. After 10-minutes, drain the water. Place cashews into a small blender. Add water to about 3/4–inch above the cashews. Puree and then liquefy the cashews and water.

3. Steam broccoli.

4. Once the farro is done, add 2 tbsps of cashew milk to the pot. Stir. Let sit for 1-minute. If the milk is quickly absorbed and you begin to lose the consistency of risotto, add a more cashew milk until you have the creaminess of risotto (you will have leftover milk). Squeeze your lemon into the pot. Add olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Spoon your farro risotto onto a plate and make your bed of broccoli. Yum!

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