I want to take a break today from all the pumpkin craziness (catch all the Pumpkin Week 2016 recipes here), and talk to you about one of my other favorite ingredients in my kitchen—farro.
I love quinoa as much as the next health-food-adoring girl, but if I had to pick a whole grain to spend the rest of my life with, it’d be my darling farro. Chewy, nutty, and crazy versatile, farro needs a spot in your pantry if it doesn’t have one already.
The versatility of farro is what really makes it shine. You can cook it al dente using the pasta method (cooking it just like you would spaghetti in a big ole vat of salted water), and it works perfectly as a base for grain salads like the one I’m sharing with you today.
Or, you can cook it using the same method you use for quinoa to make a hearty, fluffy grain side dish to go along with your dinner.
Farro also makes an incredible substitute for enriched arborio rice when you are making risotto (some folks call this farrotto). It results in the same dreamy, creamy texture that you get with a traditional arborio rice risotto—but you get the health benefit of using a whole grain that is packed with fiber, protein, and iron.
It used to be almost impossible to find farro outside of a speciality health food store or an Italian grocer, but in the past few years, farro has increased in popularity, and I’ve been picking it up at my regular supermarket in the same section with quinoa and brown rice.
Chances are, the farro you pick up in the store will be pearled or semipearled (which means part of the bran has been removed to speed up cooking). Those varieties will cook in 15ish minutes. If you do happen to get a truly whole grain farro that isn’t pearled, you’ll be looking at closer to 30-40 minutes of cooking time. You can speed it up by presoaking it overnight, just like you would with dried beans.
If you want to get your feet wet with farro, I have quite a few recipes that you might like:
- One Pot Fresh Herb and Tomato Farro
- Cheesy Cauliflower Farro Bake
- Farro Stuffed Mini Peppers
- Mushroom, Black Bean, and Corn Farro Salad
And, of course, if you’re looking for a perfectly autumnal way to try out farro, this sweet-and-savory Roasted Apple and Pumpkin Farro Salad is just for you. You can serve it warm or cold, and it’s got enough heft to it to be a main dish or a side dish. We served this with glazed salmon and a nice green side salad. And I highly recommend this baby makes an appearance at your Thanksgiving table! Enjoy.