Joy the Baker

What the Heck is Farro…? Plus an End of Summer Veggie and Farro Salad!

September 9, 2009

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

How about a quick lesson on my newest and favorite food find?  You in?  I’m droppin’ knowledge.  Let’s talk farro!

Farro is a grain commonly and presently grown in Italy.  It doesn’t have strictly Italian roots… those roots would probably be somewhere in the Middle East, but Italy is a mighty fine producer of farro these days.

Farro is a wild cousin of wheat.  If you’re farmiliar with barley, I would say that farro is very similiar.

When cooked, farro is often shaped like a giant puffed rice.  It’s nutty in flavor and has a slightly crunchy texture.  I know it as a super healthy whole grain that keeps me full for hours and hours… an almost impossible task.  It’s full of fiber and even has a great amount of protein in it!

I most often use farro to fatten up soups or to make a nice sauteed vegetable salad.  Salads with farro are delicious warm, or room temperature, or cold standing in front of the fridge sometime past midnight.

We’re not done here…. click on through, won’t you?

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

So, I know what you’re thinking.  Ok, ok Joy… farro is sooooooo great, but how do I cook the stuff?

Well… I was getting to that.  Hold your horses!

Some recipes might suggest that you soak your farro overnight before cooking it.  I don’t think such a process is entirely necessary.  I boiled my dried farro in salted water for about 15 minutes, drained it, tossed in sauteed vegetables, lemon and olive oil and I was golden.  It’s a gorgeous side dish.  It’s a satisfying main dish.  It’s just all together rad!

Where the heck do you buy farro?  Try your local natural food store or Whole Foods, in the bulk bins.  There are also plenty of places online you might scope it out.  Look around for farro.  It’s totally worth it!

Summer Vegetable Farro Salad

Farro Salad with Red Peppers, Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes and Lemon

Print this Recipe!

1 heaping cup dried farro

6 cups of boiling water

2 teaspoons salt

1 large zucchini, diced

1 medium onion diced

a clove of garlic, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

juice of 1 lemon

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add two teaspoons of salt and dried farro.  Turn heat to medium and boil farro until it is tender with a slight bite to it.  This took me about 15 to 20 minutes.

Once cooked, drain farro and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  Add onions, peppers, garlic and zucchini and saute until cooked through but still vibrant in color, about 5 minutes.  Toss in the tomatoes and cumin and salt and pepper towards the end of cooking the vegetables.

Toss cooked vegetables with cooked farro.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Before serving, finish the farro with a hearty squeeze of lemon juice and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.

35 Comments Add A Comment

  • I am a farro freak. It all started when I had some as a side dish in a restaurant here in SF. I’ve been recreating it (in my own wacky way) at some ever since–I just cook the farro in broth with a few garlic cloves, sometimes a bit of onion, then toss it with fresh minced tomato and baby spinach. Sometimes crumbled goat cheese. If I wasn’t married to a “where’s the beef?” type, I would eat that for dinner every night!

    • Shauna, that sounds fabulous…I’ve never tried farro, and this is the way I will try it for the very first time…I think I’m gonna love it! Thank you!

  • that looks SOO good!…i’m a HUGE Bulga and Coucous fan, so i’ll be trying this

  • I’m italian so I’m familiar with farro (but not so much!). I think I’ve eaten it five o six times but I’ve loved it. I’m glad you’ve found it out: sometimes the only things people know about Italy are pasta with a lot of sauces and fatty stuff. Actually we eat a lot of healthy food every day… farro salad is considered by the most a posh starter or a delicate side dish and the farro soup something to warm you up in the cold days of the winter. You can use farro flour everywhere even in the pizza dough (adjust (+) the liquid content and let it raise a little bit more). Hope you enjoy a little of Italy
    from Ireland Martina

  • BTW – I LOVE the changes to the new site. I could never tell what was new/old/what-have-you with that scrolling picture thing and it was driving me batty. Not that your sole purpose is to satisfy me – but sometimes I like to pretend I have that game. hahaha Love it now! Perf!

  • Yum!! This looks hearty, healthy AND delicious. I must try this. Right after some cupcakes.

  • Sorry but I forgot to ask, How many does this recipe serve?

    Thanks Joy!

  • My husband has recently gone Vegetarian on me so this would be perfect and I am sure he would love it. Thanks for the recipe just in the nick of time.

  • I’m Italian so I LOVE farro! Love your blog…can’t wait to see more! (It actually inspired me to write a cooking blog!)
    PS – where did you get your cute measuring cup??

  • I’m not familiar with it, which is why this is such a treat. Isn’t it so cool that new-old grains just seem to keep coming from Planet Mom? She wants us to be healthy! I’ll check the grain bins at the Earth Fare- I”m sure they have it and I’ve just never noticed.

  • Ive never tried farro and have only briefly heard tell of it! This sounds and looks good though!

  • Thanks! I’m always looking for substitutes to brown rice and quinoa. I’ll try this recipe on my hubby.

  • I’ve heard a lot about farro but can’t seem to find it anywhere!

  • Thank you! I used to manage a natural foods store and thank you for promoting the many tasty grains out there… another good one is quinoa and spelt….mmmm!

  • Sounds amazing!!! I love your palate!!!

  • Wow. That looks great!

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