Farro: A Simple, Ancient and Fabulous Grain

I walk most days with my friend, Linda.  Linda is a wealth of information and I always learn so much from her on our walks.  We often share recipes, tips and plating ideas.  A few weeks ago, Linda asked if I ever prepared farro. As I never had prepared farro, she offered to drop off a bag of farro for me to try.

Farro is an ancient grain with high protein, plenty of fiber and many health benefits. Although it contains gluten, its gluten levels are lower than wheat and farro is often tolerated better than wheat by those who are sensitive to gluten.  Its nutty flavor is similar to brown rice and its puffy texture is similar to barley. Farro reminds me of wheat berries as it is has a visible bran and a light brown color.

farro up close

Here are the nutrition facts for whole grain farro:

farro nutrition facts

I tried farro a couple of weeks ago for the first time and we were hooked.  It was so simple to prepare and so delicious in taste and texture.  It can be served warm, cold or room temperature.  I have tried it again and again and it never disappoints.

The package directions recommend soaking and/or rinsing the farro before preparing. This will help neutralize the phytic acid in the farro grains, making the grains easier to digest and helping to break down the gluten. I usually skip this step as we do not seem to have a sensitivity to the farro grains.

As my new favorite grain, I have begun trying farro in salads and other recipes and I have found it to be very versatile.  Over the next weeks and months, I will be posting additional recipes using farro.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 cup farro
3 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a saute or fry pan, saute 1 onion and 2 cloves or garlic in oil, until soft and just turning brown.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape onions, garlic and oil into a rice cooker.
sauteed onions and garlic

Add farro, water and seasonings to rice cooker. gently stir to combine.  Cook until ready, about 45 minutes. All the water should be absorbed and the farro will be soft and golden-brown when ready.

farro with onions and garlic

VARIATIONS

Farro can be prepared on the cooktop, as well. After sauteing onions and garlic, add farro, water and seasoning to pan.  Over high heat, bring uncovered mixture to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the farro is soft.

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