Rich and cheesy tasting without a lick of cheese (and with plenty of nutritional yeast), this comforting and easy tomato and herb-drenched baked farro casserole may bump your favorite pasta bake down a notch or two. Farro is a rustic, chewy variety of whole-kernel wheat rich in protein and fiber, and usually stocked in nice groceries with other heirloom grains, such as quinoa, or look wherever Mediterranean pastas and rices are sold.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Sort through the farro to remove any broken grains and rinse in a colander. In a large saucepan over medium, sauté the garlic and shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes to soften the shallot. Stir in the farro and the bay leaf and sauté for another minute, then pour in the vegetable broth and the tomatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a rapid simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add oregano, thyme, and salt. Remove bay leaf. Taste and season with a little more salt, if desired (if using water, you may want to), then stir in the parsley and nutritional yeast.
Pour the farro mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the farro has absorbed almost all of the liquid.
Pulse together the topping ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor (or pound with a mortar and pestle) into coarse crumbs. Take the casserole out of the oven, remove the foil, and cover the top evenly with the walnut topping. Drizzle those 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top and bake for 10 minutes to lightly brown the top of the casserole. For best results, allow the farro to sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly and firm up a bit. Serve warm; this casserole tastes even better the next day after the flavors have blended a bit more.
Tip: For a casserole with a more delicate texture, use pureed tomatoes in place of diced tomatoes.
Excerpted from Veganomicon, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.