Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet and research shows that most Americans do not get eat anywhere close to the recommended amount. One grain that many people have traditionally overlooked is farro. Farro is a type of wheat and can be used in many different ways including salads, soups and side dishes.
There are three types of farro, einkorn, emmer and spelt. They can be purchased as whole grains (which must be soaked before cooking), pearled (cooks the quickest but can be gummy as all the bran is removed) or semi-pearled (less gummy than pearled since some of the bran is left intact). According to NPR, it is thought to have originated in the fertile crescent and it has been found in tombs of Egyptian kings.
Catherine Zymaris, RD, originally wrote this post a few years ago as a Dietetic Intern at Rutgers School of Health Related Professions. She is now a clinical Dietitian at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
This is her wonderful recipe for Harvest Farro Salad that is a whole grain salad. It is delicious, nutritious and easy to make. It stores well in the refrigerator and makes a great addition for weekday lunches.
PLEASE NOTE: Farro is NOT a gluten-free grain. It is a type of wheat and should not be eaten if you have celiac disease, gluten allergy or other gluten sensitivity, etc.
Harvest Farro Salad with Lemon Dressing
by Catherine Zymaris, RD
The ancient grain of farro
The past few years has seen a rise in the popularity of ancient grains, like quinoa, amaranth, freekah, and farro. These grains are appearing on restaurant menus and on grocery store shelves. Ancient grains are featured prominently in blogs, social media, and on television. The ancient grain that I love the most is farro. It is a delicious, nutty grain that is a great source of fiber (more than any ancient grain), protein, vitamin B3, zinc, magnesium, and iron. A half-cup of cooked farro has double the protein of the same amount of brown rice!
What type of farro is best?
The only pitfall to farro is the type to buy; this grain comes either as unpearled, semi-pearled, or pearled. Unpearled has the bran fully intact on the grain, which requires an overnight soak and a long cooking time. Pearled (the bran is completely removed) has the shortest cooking time but leaves the grains gummy and unappealing. For the best results in both texture and cooking time, try semi-pearled – the bran is partially intact, providing a good amount of fiber but a 20-30-minute cooking time.
What are other ways to use farro?
Use farro in a variety of ways. It can be a replacement for rice in risotto or pasta for soup. My favorite way to use semi-pearled farro is as a base of a cold salad that is perfect as a main vegetarian course or as an easy side dish. This Harvest Farro Salad with Lemon Dressing is a nod to the flavors of the season and highlights farro’s hearty chew. I hope you enjoy!
Check out the shop to purchase your farro online.