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I originally created this vegan farro recipe as a Thanksgiving main dish for those who don’t do animal products. It doubles as a side dish for everyone, since it plays well with traditional holiday flavors. But don’t save it for the holidays — its savory goodness is welcome anytime.

vegan farro recipe with broccoli and shiitakes in a bowl
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Why we love this recipe

You can’t be everything to everyone, but farro comes pretty close. Cooked al dente, this intact grain can lend a hearty chew to salads. Cooked longer and with a higher proportion of liquid, it’s akin to risotto. Its mild, nutty flavor complements a wide variety of sweet and savory foods, and its slow burn of satisfying nutrients will keep you full and happy.

This vegan farro recipe:

  • Leans hard into savory territory with layers of beautiful umami from shiitakes, soy sauce, and (vegan if you like) parmesan cheese
  • Warms you inside and out with its cozy vibes
  • Lets you choose whether to make it on the creamy (my preference) or chewy side (also fabulous)
  • Is make-ahead friendly

I first published this recipe here way back in 2010. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Whole farro is an intact grain that still contains all its flavor and nutritional value. These days I usually cook it in the Instant Pot, which makes the timing totally reasonable. You could use semi-pearled farro here instead if you like. I’ve provided timing for both options in the recipe card below. Note that when shopping for farro in the U.S., it’s often very hard to know exactly what you’re buying. Even premium brands labeled as “whole” are often semi-pearled. It’s not worth worrying about — just drain it when it’s as tender as you like.
  • You can’t beat shiitake mushrooms for savoriness and depth of flavor, but this recipe is very adaptable. Any combination of mushrooms that you enjoy would be great.
  • Over the years I’ve made this recipe with either sliced red onion or minced shallots. Each has a nice vibe of its own.
  • To keep this recipe vegan, use a vegan parmesan. If you don’t mind animal products, Parmigiano Reggiano works beautifully.
  • Reduced sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make our vegan farro recipe with broccoli and shiitakes. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Cook the farro according to the directions in the recipe card below. You can boil it or use a pressure cooker. Meanwhile, sauté the onion, mushrooms, and garlic in the olive oil.
  2. Sir in the broccoli, broth, and soy sauce.
  3. Cover and steam until broccoli is as tender as you like.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the cooked farro, parmesan, and pepper. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I add extra vegan protein?

For sure. My favorite addition is one to two cups of cooked French lentils. It’s such a good combination that I always have a hard time not updating the basic recipe to include them. But some of you have been making the original version for many years, so I’ll leave it as a suggestion.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes! This recipe keeps very well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and can be reheated in the microwave before serving. Feel free to make it in advance.

More favorite vegan main dishes for the holidays (or any day)

vegan farro recipe with broccoli and shiitakes in a pan

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vegan farro recipe with broccoli and shiitakes in a pan
4.75 from 16 votes

Vegan Farro Recipe with Broccoli and Shiitakes

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
I originally created this vegan farro recipe as a Thanksgiving main dish for those who don't do animal products. It doubles as a side dish for everyone, since it plays well with traditional holiday flavors. But don't save it for the holidays — its savory goodness is welcome anytime. Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a side.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (200 grams) whole or semi-pearled farro
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced or 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into small florets (reserve the stems for another use)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
  • cup (150 ml) water or good veggie broth
  • ½ cup (60 grams) grated parmesan cheese, vegan or regular
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place the farro in a medium pot with cold water to cover by an inch. Soak for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, drain the soaking water and add fresh water to cover the farro by two inches. Add the salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the farro is as tender as you like, starting at about 25 minutes for semi-pearled and up to an hour for whole farro. Once the farro is cooked through, the optimal spot on the chewiness to creaminess spectrum is just a matter of preference.
  • Drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion or shallot, mushrooms, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the mushrooms have reduced substantially in volume, about 7 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the onion and garlic from browning.
  • Add the broccoli florets, soy sauce, and water or broth to the pan.
  • Cover and simmer until the broccoli is quite tender, 5 to 7 minutes more. (Cook the broccoli only as much as you like it cooked. I prefer this dish without any hint of crunch.)
  • Remove the lid and cook one minute more to reduce any remaining liquid to just a few tablespoons.
  • Off the heat, add the drained farro and the parmesan cheese to the pan. Stir well and season with pepper. Serve warm.

Notes

  1. If you'd rather pressure cook the farro, here's how to do it in the Instant Pot.
  2. If you're in the mood for a little extra vegan protein, one to two cups of cooked French lentils make a great addition to this dish, with no further changes needed.
  3. This recipe keeps very well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and can be reheated in the microwave before serving. Feel free to make it in advance.
I first published this recipe here way back in 2010. I've since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal, Carbohydrates: 53.4g, Protein: 16.3g, Fat: 11.8g, Fiber: 14.2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Grains
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.75 from 16 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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17 Comments

  1. I just made this tonight. I didn’t have broccoli so I substituted cauliflower. I also added a cup of pardina lentils. I keep filling up my bowl. It’s just so good. 5 Stars. Thanks Carolyn.

  2. I haven’t tried farro before but have had my eye out for a delicious recipe using it. Can’t wait to try this! That lasagna looks really good too!