Mind Diet Recipe: Vegetarian Faro with Zucchini

This week is Brain Awareness Week, and we wanted to share one of Concho Valley ER’s favorite Mind Diet recipes to celebrate. The Mind Diet is a series of guidelines for your family’s diet that promote brain health and help to prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s later in life. Incorporating some of these techniques into your meal prep can do wonders to improve your brain’s health.

If you love Italian food, but you want to avoid all those heavy starches, then try replacing traditional risotto with faro! Faro and barley are both ancient grains, meaning that they are healthy, complex grains that give your body better protein and nutrition than processed wheat or flour-based noodles.

This dish of faro can make a great side to salmon or chicken. Or, to keep this vegetarian, you can load it up with extra vegetables and zucchini to be its own entrée. It is delicious, nutritious, and sure to help your brain stay in tip-top condition.

Vegitarian dish

Serves: 4-6


  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cups faro or barley
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red or gold bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • ½ pound spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • Five cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add ½ of the onions and ½ half of the bell pepper, lightly salt and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue for 2 more minutes.

Stir in the barley or faro to toast. Stir in 2 cups of the vegetable stock and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue stirring in stock one cup at a time until the barley is tender, but still holds together well.

While the faro or barley is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet until hot. Add the remaining onion and bell pepper, lightly salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and continue cooking until the zucchini is cooked but still firm, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

Return to the faro or barley. Stir in the spinach to wilt. Once wilted, stir in the zucchini. Season to taste.

This blog post was written by Maggie Berardo, the Content Writer at Nutex Health. Maggie has a passion for food writing and is excited to share some of her recipes with our facility.