There’s been a new grain in my dinnertime rotation lately and I thought you might like to learn about it. Actually, it’s not a new grain at all – it’s an ancient grain called farro.
Farro (prounced FAHR-oh) is a strain of hard wheat, also known as emmer wheat, that has been a favorite in Italy since ancient Roman times. I’ve eaten it in restaurants plenty of times but never ventured to make it at home until recently.
Here are three good reasons to eat farro:
1. Higher in fiber and protein than brown rice
Farro, like many other ancient grains, is a nutrition powerhouse. Although it isn’t a complete source of protein, like quinoa, 1 cup cooked farro contains about 8 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein vs. 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein for the same amount of cooked brown rice.
Farro is rich in magnesium and B vitamins, as well as cyanogenic glucosides that help stimulate the immune system, regulate blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol. In addition, farro is a good source of lignans – naturally occurring antioxidants which can help lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
2. Easier to digest than commercial wheat
Farro is lower in gluten than commercial wheat varieties. Because of that people with mild sensitivities to wheat may find it easier to digest farro. Of course, anyone with celiacs disease should steer clear.
Since farro is a whole grain, it breaks down more slowly, keeping you feeling full and your energy level stable for longer periods of time.
3. Kid-friendly alternative to pasta and rice
Farro has a roasted, nutty flavor that I absolutely love and it’s mild enough that my boys gobble it up too. The grains are larger than rice so each bite has a nice chewy texture. It’s a welcome change from pasta and rice night after night!
Where to buy farro
You can find farro in the bulk bins at natural food stores like Whole Foods or your local coop and even some foodie-focused grocery stores.
Here are a couple of packaged options (affiliate link):
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Farro – Certified USDA organic. Takes about 30 minutes to cook.
Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro – I’m hooked on this quicker cooking version of farro that claims to be par-cooked using a process that does not compromise the nutritional value. Cuts typical cooking time of 30 to 50 minutes down to 10 minutes.
A few farro recipes
We enjoy farro plain as a side dish and it’s also great stirred into soups. When you start to dig around, there are tons of delicious-sounding farro recipes to be found.
Farro Meal Bowls with Roasted Beets by Cookie Monster Cooking
15 Minute Farrotto with Sage & Butternut Squash by Nourish Network
Vegetarian Italian Farro Soup by The Chic Life
Asiago White Beans with Farro, Kale & Tomatoes by Pinch of Yum
Have you tried farro? What do you think of it?