What is farro?
It isn’t the name for an Egyptian ruler! Farro is an ancient grain that is said to date back to 10,000 years ago and some was even found in tombs of Egyptian Kings. Farro Monococcum, to be more precise, is in fact the oldest grain still being cultivated today. For thousands of years, human consumed a variety of grains like einkorn (Triticum monococcum), spelt (Triticum aestivum spelta) and farro (Triticum turgidum dicoccum). It was only a few centuries ago, that these ancient grains were replaced over time by modern wheat (Triticum durum).
Is ancient grain healthier than modern wheat?
Yes, simply because ancient grain has not been stripped and refined.
It also has never been tempered with either by hybridization or genetic modification (splicing genes in its DNA).
As a result ancient grain is much more nutritious, has more fiber and minerals.
Italians for instance, have consumed farro for centuries, Germans eat a grain called dinkel and Americans enjoyed spelt.
This is why farro is a much healthier alternative to white rice.
Similar to whole-wheat pasta, buckwheat, bulgur, and quinoa, farro is a complex carbohydrate.
It is a high-protein grain, that provides 5 grams per 1/3 cup, compared to 1.5 grams for brown rice and quinoa.
If you are diabetic you will want to add this grain to your diet because it doesn’t cause blood sugar to spike.
A great source of fiber, farro helps with digestion, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. I rest my case!
Where can I buy farro?
For a long time, farro used to be only available in health food stores but since Bob’s Red Mills added it to their product offering, you can now find it in most grocery stores that carry this brand. Thanks Bob! It comes in a 24 oz package that will provide you with many meals because the grain expands a lot.
How to use farro
You can use in salads as a replacement for quinoa or rice. Italians make the best risotto with it that is less starchy than Arborio rice. We love to top our favorite stews and soups with it. Make extra and refrigerate it for up to a week.
Is soaking farro needed?
Not really, but it will speed up the cooking time. Raw farro can take 30-40 minutes to be tender while soaked farro only needs 20-25 minutes. 1 cup of raw farro yields about 2.5 cups of cooked grain so you may want to start with that amount at first.
What does farro taste like?
Farro is tender, yet pleasantly chewy when properly cooked. It has a lovely nutty taste with some under tones of barley and oat. It is as tender as rice but not as heavy as other grains. If you are new to it, you are in for a treat!
How to cook Farro?
You can cook it on the stove, or in an instapot.
The ratio is 3 cups of water or broth to 1 cup of grain.
Bring 3 cups of water or broth to boil.
Add 1 cup of farro, stir until it boils again, the reduce and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.
Taste to make sure that the grain is tender.
Immediately drain to stop the cooking and set aside.
Hearty Farro Vegetable Stew
- 1 cup raw farro
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 medium sweet potato diced
- 1-2 celery stalk
- 1 zucchini diced
- 1 small eggplant diced
- 1 cup snap peas
- 1 small onion sliced or diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tsp sweet or smoke paprika powder
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- pinch turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- sea salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
Cook the farro
- Boil 3 cups of water or vegetable broth in a sauce pan.
- Pour farro and stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes covered.
- Taste to make sure it is cooked. Immediately drain and set aside.
Prepare the vegetable stew
- Peel and dice the sweet potato.
- Dice the celery, zucchini, eggplant, and onion.
- Mince the garlic.
- In a large frying pan, heat up the tablespoon of olive or avocado oil, add the onion, garlic and celery.
- Sprinkle the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and stir.
- Add the diced sweet potato, and stir for a minute.
- Add the broth and tomato sauce and the rest of the vegetables (eggplants, snap peas).
- Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Serve immediately by placing a few ladles of the stew and toping with the cooked farro.
- Sprinkle some parsley or cilantro.