Fall is here and all of a sudden the craving sets in – Comfort. Food. I love chicken casseroles with veggies and pasta and all that naughty creamy goodness. But I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and white carbs lately so I thought I would make a healthier version of a chicken casserole to keep it light but satisfy my craving for a baked pot of goodness.
I used an Italian Farro that I had on hand with Porcini mushrooms, and mixed in some sautéed zucchini, garlic and minced onions with a lovely Basil olive oil I have from 7Barrels.com that gives a fresh, herby flavor to go with the nuttiness of the farro. Farro is an organic semi-pearled whole grain that cooks easily and is great in place of white rice or pasta in casseroles. The good news is it’s high in protein and fiber and also low gluten and has a low glycemic index too (plus it’s super tasty too!).
First I sautéed some garlic and dried onion in the olive oil and then added the farro to toast it slightly to bring out the nutty warm flavors before adding the water and Sazon seasoning to cook the farro until plump and slightly chewy.
Then I sautéed the zucchini with more Basil olive oil and garlic until it was lightly browned.
Next I sautéed some seasoned chicken breast in brown butter, and mixed the farro and zucchini mixture together with some grated Parmesan cheese.
After the chicken was lightly browned, I topped the farro and zucchini with the chicken breasts and drizzled a little bit of the brown butter on top and popped it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the casserole was baked through.
For finishing touches, I sprinkled some dried thyme, Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt, and some red pepper flakes on top.
The flavors are absolutely spectacular and it’s a healthy alternative to fat-laden creamy casseroles we’re use to. All it needs is a lovely dry white Italian wine (like a Pinot Grigio) to go with it and you’ve got a happy, Fall day. Enjoy.
- Porcini Mushroom Farro:
- 1 tablespoon Basil Olive Oil (7 Barrels)
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
- 1 9.1 oz package Tuscan Fields® Farro Ai Funghi
- 1 small packet of Sazon seasoning
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- Sautéed Zucchini:
- 2 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
- 2 tablespoons Basil Olive Oil (7Barrels)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Sautéed chicken:
- 3 large chicken breasts (approx. 1.75-2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon seasoned salt or poultry seasoning (Instant Gourmet Original)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt flakes (FalkSalt), for garnish
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme, for garnish
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, for garnish
- Prepare the Mushroom Farro:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and sauté the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the minced dried onion and farro, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes to toast the farro.
- Add water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook farro for about 18-20 minutes until farro is plump and slightly chewy.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare the Zucchini:
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté garlic for one minute (be careful not to burn). Add zucchini and sauté for another 5-7 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Saute the Chicken:
- Thoroughly wash and pat dry chicken breasts, rub seasoning well on both sides of the chicken.
- Reheat the large sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and let melt and get slightly brown.
- Add chicken breasts and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes total, turning once, until chicken is lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare the casserole:
- Place the cooked farro and zucchini in a ceramic casserole. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese into the mixture and stir together well.
- Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the farro-zucchini-Parmesan mixture and drizzle some of the browned butter on top.
- Bake the casserole at 350 degrees uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.
- Garnish with Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt, dried thyme and red pepper flakes, and additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve hot, with a green salad and a light, dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio.