By Veronica De Lira, Nutritionist
Super foods, the term that often signifies food that offers all the proper nutrients and vitamins and is all around beneficial to your health. Usually when people hear the term “super food” one thinks of the usual candidates such as avocados, chia, quinoa, broccoli, and berries. In fact, Fill Your Plate regularly features some of these super foods because our readers are asking about them.
But, we may have a new one for you that you possibly haven’t heard about, until now. For those that have, it’s getting a lot of attention, “Farro.” Farro is already being considered the next big super food that should be on you radar.
Backgrounder on Farro
The ancient wheat variety, Farro, has been a staple in Italy for a long time. About 2,000 years long according to rachelraymag.com but it’s slowly finally making a name for itself here in North America.
This grain is a food composed of the grains of certain wheat species, according to Wikipedia. Like most grains, it’s sold dry and when preparing to cook it, it’s soaked in water until soft. While you can eat it plain, Farro is often added to salads and soups.
Additionally, many Foodies remind us that Farro is not Spelt. And it isn’t, but those unfamiliar with these ancient grains may think they are interchangeable. They are not, according to the food experts.
Farro’s Health Benefits
Farro is a useful grain that not only is great for dishes it bolsters favorable benefits for ones health. It’s super food qualities come from the fact that it is loaded with beneficial nutrients. According to corepreformance.com Farro has plenty of fiber, protein, magnesium, and zinc. If that does not convince you enough coreperformance.com also states how Farro has been associated with helping increase immunity, lower cholesterol, and balance blood sugar levels. The bonus part is when it comes to calories Farro is a great option according to rachelraymag.com.
How do I cook Farro?
Much like the grain Quinoa, for best taste it is important to cook it before use. According to drwell.com there are three grades that Farro comes in long, medium, or cracked if you want to maintain the freshness it is best you grind it. The cooking process is very similar to Quinoa and in my opinion very simple. Much like when you cook Quinoa it is very important for taste that you rinse the Farro before use.
Step One: Pour the ground Farro into sauce pan.
Step Two: Add water into Farro (at least 2 cups)
Step three: Boil on low heat till all water is absorbed
This may take 30- 40 minutes to be properly boiled.
What can I use Farro for?
When it comes to Farro there are a number of ways to incorporate it into your favorite recipes as it can be used for:
- Pilaf style dish
- Breakfast bowl
Disclaimer like all wheat-based products if you have a problem with wheat this may not be the choice for you.
Recipe to try
Here is a tasty simple Farro recipe by Melissa Clark from cooking.nytimes.com to get you acquainted with cooking with Farro.
Charlie Birds Farro Salad
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 70 grams Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (1/2 cup)
- 70 grams chopped pistachio nuts (1/2 cup)
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- 1 cup parsley or basil leaves, torn
- 1 cup mint leaves
- ¾ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced radish
- Maldon or other flaky sea salt, for finishing
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. Let farro cool, and then discard bay leaves.
Step 2: In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add farro, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. This salad base will keep for up to 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before serving). Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radish and flaky salt to taste.
Ultimately, Farro is another quality grain option for you to cook with. And since variety is the spice of life it helps to have discovered another grain to liven up your salads, soups and other cooking options.
For more recipes provided by our Arizona farmers and ranchers that include grains go to Fill Your Plate. You might consider Farro as a substitute grain in some of the recipes we offer on the web site. Or remember, if you’re using one of the salad or soup recipes on Fill Your Plate, you might consider adding Farro even if the original recipes doesn’t call for it.
Asimos, R. (2015, April 3). Vendredi Vocab: Farro – sonoma figbits. Retrieved September 20, 2015, from http://sonoma-figgirl.com/2015/04/03/vendredi-vocab-farro/