Every week I plan my meals for the next week or two, so I can do grocery shopping on the weekend and schedule the cooking throughout the week. Recently, I remembered my slow cooker, which hasn’t been used since last winter. The slow cooker can be a woman’s — or man’s — best friend.
The only challenge is finding recipes that are healthy, and in my case, vegetarian. A majority of slow cooker recipes involve a large white rice, bean or meat component, which can be fine as long as you pair it with heavy dose of vegetables, but I wanted a recipe that was naturally good for you and filling. When I typed “slow cooker” into my recipe app Paprika, I discovered this recipe, which I knew was going to be a winner in my book. The farro provides a nutty flavor, the veggies melt in your mouth, the figs give it a sweet kick, and the nuts on top make it crunch.
> 1 cup farro
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 2 cups water
> salt and pepper
> 1 tablespoon chili powder
> 4 cloves garlic
> 1 lemon, sliced into slivers
> 1 green bell pepper, sliced 1/3″ thick
> 1 red bell pepper, sliced 1/3″ thick
> 1 large eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces
> 1 cup dried Black Mission figs, stemmed
> 1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
> 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
> 3 small zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
> 6 ounces spinach
> roasted sunflower seeds, for garnish
Turn a 6-quart slow cooker on high and set the timer for 6 hours. Add all of the ingredients up to and including the cherry tomatoes. Cover and cook for 4 hours.
Stir the mixture gently and add the zucchini and spinach, submerging them in the liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 2 more hours.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with roasted sunflower seeds.
Makes 4 servings.
Adapted from Food & Wine.