Top Tips for Cooking Farro + Farro Recipes

Learn all about farro benefits, cooking with farro, and farro recipes in this nutrition and cooking guide: Top Tips for Cooking Farro + Farro Recipes

Have you tried the ancient grain farro? Well, you really should, because it’s packed with flavor and nutrition! This unique grain has a long history and an impressive nutrient profile. And it offers a chewy texture to a variety of dishes, from breakfast porridges to whole grain side dishes to salads to entrees and even to desserts! Learn more about how to use farro in the kitchen in this helpful guide.

What is Farro?

Also known as emmer wheat, farro (triticum dicoccon) is the Italian name for this hulled ancient mother grain that gave rise to modern wheat. Often confused with spelt (triticum spelta), they are two distinct, though closely related grains. Farro is said to have sustained the Romans as they conquered the world 7,000 years ago. Legend has it that Julius Caesar himself brought it to Italy after invading Egypt in 30 B.C. Known as the Pharaoh’s wheat because it was the only wheat cultivated in pharaonic times, this nutritious, high-energy grain was a staple in Roman society.

Green Bean Chickpea Salad with Za’atar

What are Farro Benefits?

Armed with more than twice the protein and fiber of modern wheat, each grain of farro packs a nutritious punch. Not only is it rich in magnesium, niacin, zinc and iron, it also provides a complete protein source when combined with pulses. Farro has a lower gluten content with more fragile gluten molecules than those of modern wheat, making it easier to digest, and sometimes tolerable for some gluten-intolerant individuals. But is farro gluten free? No, it is not. If you must avoid gluten out of medical necessity, farro is hands off for you. An excellent source of whole grains and complex carbohydrates, farro can play a significant role in helping to maintain healthy body weight, and reducing diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease risk, as well as helping to prevent certain forms of cancer.

Farro and White Bean Veggie Burgers

Cooking Farro

It’s so easy to use farro in the kitchen! Farro is sold whole, semi-pearled and pearled (which determines cooking time), and is also available as flour and pasta. Farro vs barley? Indeed, farro gets easily confused with barley, as they have a similar appearance (they are both plump whole grain kernels), however farro has a milder wheat-like taste. The farro grain may be used in recipes calling for spelt, barley and quinoa, though cooking times will vary. Look for pearlized farro (farro perlato) and prepare as you would rice: use a 2:1 liquid to grain ratio, add farro to boiling water or broth, simmer covered for 25-35 minutes to desired tenderness and drain unabsorbed liquid. You can also cook instant pot farro by using your “porridge” setting. Enjoy farro’s distinctly nutty flavor and al dente bite in soups and stews, as a rice substitute and in salads. Join the resurgence of this mother grain that has caught the eye of both gourmets and the health-conscious.

Tuscan Asparagus Fennel Farro Salad

Farro Recipes

Clearly, farro is a delicious and healthy grain option that is easy to prepare and extremely versatile. Farro can easily be swapped for other whole grains in recipes; try using it instead of quinoa in this Mediterranean Edamame Quinoa Bowl. Or try out my tasty warming farro brussels sprouts recipe. Farro is the perfect satisfying dish for any meal, and the combo of hearty veggies and our favorite grain farro makes it a satisfying one dish meal in recipes like farro risotto, roasted farro vegetable bakes, and grain bowls.

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