Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Farro

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This is a weird month for my roommate and me.

Both of us are traveling a ton, and somehow we only overlap for a total of five days in January. This is bad. Very bad. Superbad, if you will.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for alone time, and I personally find that occasional separation is great for a relationship. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, yada yada, and sometimes you just need a few days to indulge your less partner-friendly habits in peace. (In my case, starrfishing in da king bed and falling asleep to the sweet, sweet sounds of Harry Potter audiobooks with a face full of zit cream. Heaven!)

I can usually keep it together when I’m the one that’s out of town (I’m selfish like that), but shit tends to hit the fan when I’m left home alone for too long. I stay up inordinately late crying at happy Internet videos, listening to murder podcasts, and reading random articles on things like SEO and “Pinterest strategies.” I spend more time down the Instagram rabbit hole than I should. I worry. And last Friday night I took too hot a salt bath, almost passed out, and had to lie naked on the bathroom floor for ten minutes before I could comfortably walk again.

I can’t be trusted!!!

Ironically, one of the best parts about prolonged roommate separation is that Logan inspires a lot of my finest cooking. It’s subconscious, but I often find myself making meals that remind me of him when he’s not around. I usually don’t even notice I’ve done it until I sit down to eat and think, “Dammit, Logan would freak over [insert delicious feast].” Last week alone, I whipped up lasagna soup, a particularly epic quinoa bake, and this Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Farro, all of which were inadvertently tailored to Logan’s palate.

Logan lives for a good stir-fry, especially when there’s plenty of meat and some sort of grain involved, like farro. The dude loves farro. I first introduced him to the nutrient-dense whole grain back in The Dude Diet’s early days, and nobody was more surprised than me when he fell head-over-heels for the nutty grain’s “dank chewiness.” (I’ve happily kept a bag of semi-pearled farro on hand ever since, and I use it in everything from salads to baked eggs and risotto.)

When I think about it, this stir-fry epitomizes a Dude Diet meal. It’s hearty and huge on flavor, yet it’s made with real, whole foods and packs a serious nutritional punch. On top of whole grain farro and lean chicken breast, I managed to work in FOUR vegetables, one of which is kale(!!), high fiber edamame, and plenty of anti-inflammatory ginger. Plus, everything is cooked in heart-healthy coconut oil. Hallelujah!

I feel it’s important to share that Logan flew into a fit of jealous rage when I responded “a chicken, vegetable, and farro stir-fry” to his typical “What did you eat for dinner?” query during our nightly phone sesh last week. I believe his exact words were, “COME ON! You must be fisting me!! You never make Daddy the good things when he’s home!!!” This outburst was 100% nonsense (I make the “good things” always, and Daddy is a drama queen), but it satisfied my suspicion that this meal was, in fact, something the dude would dig. I think you’ll dig it too.

FYI, this recipe is also excellent with shrimp, thinly sliced beef, and dry-fried tofu for the veg-heads. Gluten-sensitive peeps, go ahead and sub tamari for soy sauce and swap brown rice (or any other whole grain you like) for the farro. And you should all feel free to get creative with toppings! I’m partial to basil for sweetness and raw cashews for healthy fats and crunch, but that’s just me. Scallions, any combo of fresh herbs, nuts, sesame or hemp seeds, and even furikake would be fabulous. I believe in your creativity.

p.s. Huge congratulations to @grammybytckcjt, the winner of The Dude Diet giveaway!! She posted a record-breaking 12 ENTRIES, including photo and video cameos by several dudes and a life-sized Darth Vader, so she is more than deserving of some DD kitchen swag. Thank you to all that entered—seeing your Dude Diet creations (and shining faces) on Instagram made me legit giddy, and I fangirled over every single post.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Farro: (Serves 4)

½ cup uncooked semi-pearled farro (about 1 cup cooked)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, divided
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch cubes
½ medium yellow onion, diced small
1 large zucchini, diced small
1 cup thinly sliced carrot rounds (I used small rainbow carrots.)
¾ cup shelled edamame (If using frozen edamame, defrost according to the package directions.)
3 large garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 packed cups baby kale (or leafy green of your choice), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
For serving: (optional)
Fresh basil
Raw cashews, chopped

Preparing your Chicken Superfood Stir-Fry:

-Cook the farro according to the package directions. Strain and briefly set aside.

-Heat ½ tablespoon of the coconut oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken to the pan in an even layer.

-Let the chicken cook for 2 minutes undisturbed (you want to get some light browning action going), then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.

-Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 1½ tablespoons coconut oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion, zucchini, and carrots to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender (but not mushy!), about 5-7 minutes. (I like to let my vegetables brown a little, but if you’re not into that, simply turn the heat down to medium.)

-Add the edamame, garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.

-Add the baby kale and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds.

-Strain any excess liquid from the cooked chicken, then return the chicken to the pan. Fold in the farro, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha (if using), and cook for a minute or so until heated through.

-Serve your stir-fry warm topped with basil and cashews.

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  2. Jen Z on January 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Made this with brown rice (I forgot to buy farro at the store!) and it exceeded my expectations! It’s such a simple dish but ends up super flavorful and great to bring to the office for lunches – thanks Serena!

    • Serena Wolf on January 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      So excited to hear this was a hit, and that you’ve got some sassy desk lunches lined up!!

  3. GF on January 17, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I like to build stirfries into my weekly menu when I’m already making another dish in the week that requires rice; stir fries are a great way to use up leftover rice (since it’s already been cooked and you add the cooked grain into the stirfry). Thanks for helping add another stir fry recipe to my rotation!

    • Serena Wolf on January 19, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Totally with you! Stir-fries are my go-to for leftovers/cleaning out the fridge–so easy and delicious. Fingers crossed this one’s a hit in your stir-fry arsenal!

  4. Susan Stone on January 17, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    This does sound very good. I’m thinking about trying it with beef or pork. My favorite go-to grain is kamut (due to space limitations I had to choose one grain, and kamut was it), so I’d use that. Looking forward to trying this. And I hope you will make it for Logan…

    • Serena Wolf on January 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Ooooh, I’ve done limited experiments with kamut, but I do love the texture. I’m sure your kamut and beef/pork variation will be delicious!

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