Tender stir fried farro, garlicky sautéed kale, and a perfectly poached egg. If that’s not a good breakfast, we don’t know what is. This simple, healthy grain bowl is packed with everything you need to start your day off right.
Breakfast isn’t typically an ideal meal for slow food. Our modern lives pack our days with tasks demanding attention: we have kids to get to school, work deadlines to meet, errands pulling us in twenty directions. But while a cup of coffee and a quick carbohydrate filler, like a bowl of cereal or piece of toast, may get us up and out of the house quickly, they hardly constitute a satisfying and well-rounded meal. That’s why when we’re able to, dedicating a little more time to a breakfast that actually provides a whammy of flavor, as well as going some way to fulfill those balanced-food-groups and five-a-day promises, is a worthy goal.
Note: This recipe is part of our series with Serious Eats.
To that end, this is one of our favorites, a simple combo of farro, kale, and egg. Farro by itself has a mild, nutty flavor, and cooks up with a pleasantly resilient texture. The only challenge with farro is knowing how long to cook it. You don’t want to end up with overly-chewy grains, but you also don’t want to cook them to mush. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all cooking time for it. When the farro is done will depend on the specific variety of the grain, whether it’s semi-pearled or whole, and even its age. It doesn’t have the predictability of rice, where you can add a specific amount of water and simmer for a predetermined number of minutes.
The best approach, then, is to treat farro like a pasta: Simmer it in salted water, testing its doneness periodically throughout the cooking process. This can be anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes, but we’ve found that 20 minutes is the ballpark sweet spot. (And honestly, if you do this part ahead and keep the drained farro in the fridge, the rest of this recipe comes together pretty damned quick.)
For the kale, we start by sautéing shallots and garlic until soft and aromatic, and then add the chopped greens, cooking just until they wilt. We mix in the farro and add a little red wine vinegar to give it some tartness, which really brightens everything up.
This is what breakfast is meant to be…at least when we have the time. (Don’t worry, cereal, we’ll still see you bright and early each weekday morning.)
- 1½ cups farro (300g; 10 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (30ml), plus more for drizzling
- 2 medium shallots (160g; 6 ounces), thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale, washed, tough stems removed and discarded, and roughly chopped (about 300g ; 10 ounces after de-stemming)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (30ml)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs, poached or fried
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for shaving (optional)
- Chili sauce, for serving (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add farro. Lower heat and simmer until farro is tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes (different brands of farro can have significantly different cooking times, so start checking at 20 minutes, but be prepared to simmer longer). Drain and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Add kale and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add farro and vinegar and toss until farro is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide kale and grains into 4 bowls. Top each with an egg, seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with shaved Parmesan, if using. Serve, passing chili sauce at the table, if desired.