This “muffin pan” recipe combines familiar broccoli, red peppers, feta cheese and toasted walnuts with a different kind of grain—farro. It’s an ancient form of wheat with a chewy texture and nutty taste that’s a good source of protein, fiber, iron, vitamin B-3 and zinc. Look for whole-grain versions, and follow cooking directions on the package.

Serve these cakes with a salad of arugula or watercress drizzled with our garlicky yogurt sauce, and you’ll enjoy a nutritious bounty of flavors, textures and colors. It’s a meal in a bowl!

Broccoli-Walnut Farro Cakes

For yogurt sauce:

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt (can be whole, low-fat or nonfat)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed with ⅛ teaspoon sea salt

For cakes:

  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup drained, cooked farro
  • ¾ cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup whole wheat panko
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For salad:

  • 3 cups fresh arugula or watercress leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a six-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper cut to fit.

Prepare sauce: Combine yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate up to two hours ahead.

Prepare cakes: Place red bell pepper in a large bowl. Steam broccoli until just tender, about four minutes. Drain and let cool. Chop broccoli florets into half-inch pieces, then add to bell pepper.

Add farro, cheese, walnuts, panko, egg, salt and pepper to broccoli and bell pepper, and mix thoroughly. Divide evenly among muffin cups, then press down lightly with back of spoon to even the thicknesses. Cover with foil, and bake until set, about 15 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes in pan before removing.

Meanwhile, toss arugula or watercress with lemon juice and olive oil. Divide arugula on six serving plates. Place a warm cake on top of each salad and drizzle with yogurt sauce. Makes six servings.

General tips for muffin-tin meals…

  • Chop vegetables, fruits and other chunky ingredients very small (One large broccoli floret, for instance, takes up most of the room in a muffin cup!)
  • To freeze, cool “muffins” in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes, then loosen the edges with the tip of a knife or spatula and let them cool completely. Wrap the entire pan with foil and freeze until solid (about six hours). When frozen, use a knife to ease the muffins from the pan, then place them in heavy-duty zip-top freezer bags and return to freezer. Store up to one month.
  • To reheat: Place frozen “muffins” back into a muffin pan or on a baking sheet, cover with foil and warm in 350°F oven until hot (about 20 minutes). Or microwave one or two at a time, covered, at medium power until hot (two to four minutes).

Looking for more muffin pan recipes? Check out Mini Veggie Lasagna, a lighter version of a favorite comfort food. Coming soon: A new kind of breakfast “muffin.”

Got a comment or a recipe variation? Share it in the comments section below!