One Pot Meal Cooking Demo: Farro & Sriracha Chili

“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” – Harry James


What’s the Real Deal with One Pot Meals?

As the snow finally begins to melt and the days grow warmer and longer, it seems like spring is just around the corner (fingers crossed!). However, the changing seasons also signals the all too familiar commencement of what I’ve come to term, “crunch time”; that time of the year where term assignments and presentations never seem to end and final exams loom in the not so distant future. During this busy and often stressful time, other priorities, such as taking the time to cook a nutritious dinner, are often put on the back burner (No pun intended). Understandably, the last thing students want to worry about after a long day of work or classes, crunched for time and running low on energy, is coming home and having to prepare a meal for oneself.


While it’s tempting to grab something quick from one of the many fast food outlets in the area, ultimately these foods are less than ideal when it comes to fuelling our bodies and brains for success. We require something more nutritionally balanced, wholesome, and filling.
Enter your saving grace, the one-pot meal. Many cultures across the globe have their own versions of the one-pot meal: risotto in Italy, paella in Spain, and cassoulet in France. But each of these recipes have one feature in common – they require only one pot in which all ingredients are combined. Whether you use a wok, a Dutch oven, or skillet, everything is prepared in one vessel where flavours are able to mingle and combine to produce something truly special.


What makes it a student’s dream meal?

Covering your bases. It takes more time to prepare separate grain/starch, meat and alternative, and vegetable dishes each day. The one pot meal’s all-in-one preparation allows for diversity and makes it easier to ensure that your major macronutrients and food groups are included. While not every dish may be perfectly balanced, these recipes can be adapted to sneak in those extra veggies you may be skimping out on in your diet.
Keeping it simple. You don’t need to be a seasoned chef to successfully pull off a one pot meal. The bulk of the work is in the prepping of ingredients, which usually only requires basic peeling, cutting, and chopping skills. Many also don’t take long to cook.
No muss, no fuss. There’s usually minimal clean-up involved, since most recipes don’t require much more than a cutting board, chopping knife, and pot.
Stock Up! These dishes were designed for batch cooking. To save you time, make enough for a week’s worth of lunch or dinners, or freeze the rest for a later date.

One of my all time favourite one-pot meals growing up was chili, and to this day, it remains a staple in my family to help get us through the blistery winter months. For our featured recipe (see below), this traditional comfort food gets a brand new look. This meatless dish is packed with whole grains quinoa and farro, nutrient-rich vegetables, and lean protein.

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The extra kick from current “it” ingredient Sriracha and enhanced depth of flavour from the beer (yes, you heard that right – beer) make this recipe the official Cool Kid of chilis.

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Farro and Quinoa Sriracha Chili
Adapted from
Serves 6


1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup plain cooked quinoa (prepare according to package directions)
1 cup plain cooked farro (prepare according to package directions)
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1 large jalapeno pepper sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2-3/4 cup beer
1 tbs sugar
Sriracha Chili Sauce to taste
Salt to taste


In a heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and saute onions, peppers, and galric until the onions are translucent. Mix in tomatoes, beans, quinoa, farro, beer and sugar. Simmer over medium/ low heat for about an hour or until the chili has thickened. Add in sriracha sauce 1 tsp at a time until the chili reaches your desired heat. Salt to taste.
Serve hot with sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro or diced scallions.

Ingredient Spotlight: Farro

While super-grains such as quinoa have been receiving a lot of attention in recent years, farro has just recently begun to receive recognition for its stellar nutrition and sensory profile. Here’s the skinny on farro:

  • Farro is the oldest cultivated grain in the world and has even been found in the tombs of Egyptian kings. It has also long been a staple in Italian cuisine.
  • It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour, with more of a chewy texture than that of quinoa
  • It’s high in cholesterol-lowering fibre (1 cup packs 8g of fibre), rich in complex carbs to keep blood sugars stable, as well as a good source of minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron
  • Although not gluten-free, farro is low in gluten. The gluten proteins are relatively weak and may be tolerated by those with gluten sensitivities

To cook: let it soak overnight first. Using a 2 to 1 ratio of water to farro, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium for 25-40 minutes (it varies depending on how processed the farro is)

Be sure to join us on Wednesday March 25 at 5pm in the Pitman Hall Cafeteria where Ryerson’s resident Chef and I will be hosting a cooking demo of this mouthwatering dish, taking you step-by-step through the basics of the recipe. Take a break from studying to stop by and beef up on your nutrition knowledge, learn some great cooking tips and skills, win some prizes, and grab free samples! You won’t want to miss this!

Check out these links to more fantastic one-pot meal ideas…


Stephanie Aresta
Ryerson Eats Nutrition Intern

Categories: Events on Campus, golocal, Recipes


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