Here’s a straightforward one-pot dish that will work great with any additional side or protein. Think of it as a starter pilaf that you can customize to your liking. But before we get to cooking, I want to talk about broths and stocks.
Broth and stocks are amazing timesaving (and at times absolutely necessary) ingredients that make it easier to add flavor to dishes. However, when it comes to purchasing a broth or stock, I strongly recommend that you choose the low-sodium or unsalted options.
Risks of Too Much Sodium
What’s the big deal about Sodium? Too much sodium can put you at risk of:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Failure
- Stomach Cancer
- Kidney Disease
- Kidney Stones
- Enlarged Heart Muscle
In addition, sodium increases water retention which results in puffiness, bloating and weight gain; none of those are fun.
Recommended Sodium Intake
The Dietary Guidelines recommends that we limit our daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg (equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of salt). The American Heart Association is more conservative and recommends a daily sodium intake limit of 1,500 mg. Several store-bought broths and stocks are packed with sodium; with some having around 955 mg of sodium per serving. That’s 39% of your daily value of sodium! Geez! Yet another reason for us to read the nutrition facts labels of any food product we consider putting into our shopping carts.
If you want to learn more about sodium, the American Heart Association has a series of eye-opening articles and infographics about sodium. One of their infographics that I really like is the 7 Salty Sodium Myths Busted. The infographic addresses these 7 myths:
- Eliminate sodium completely for good health
- Sea salt has less sodium than table salt
- “I usually don’t salt my food, so I don’t eat too much sodium”
- High levels of sodium are found only in food
- Lower sodium foods have no taste
- “My Blood pressure is normal, so I don’t need to worry about how much sodium I eat”
- “I don’t eat a lot of salty food so I don’t eat too much sodium”
If you’ve been following my recipes for a while, you will realize that I do not shy away from spices and herbs. One of the reasons why I use these seasonings is because I do not want my recipes to rely on salt for flavor. In my opinion, salt should ENHANCE not BE the flavor of a dish. This recipe is no different; I used an unsalted broth and I recommend that you do the same given what we know about sodium.
Prep Time: 10 minutes . Cook Time: 30 minutes . Yield: Serves 8
2 1/2 Cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock
1 Lb Zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick moons
1 Cup Farro, uncooked
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Cup Red Onion, chopped
8 Oz Mushrooms, chopped
1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
4-5 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
2. Add uncooked farro and italian seasoning; mix to coat farro with seasoning. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to boil then reduce to simmer; cover and cook farro for about 30 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.
3. During the last 5 minutes of cook time, stir in zucchini and tomatoes; add salt and pepper to taste. Cover again for the remaining time. Serve warm.