The Farro-est of All

When I refer to something as vulgar, it’s highly likely that your mind drifts instantly to that which is tasteless or more likely, something indecent. However, if I was using it as an adjective for Latin, then I would be using a generic term to describe a non-standard version of Latin rather than the classical form.

Nothing Vulgar About It

Nothing Vulgar About It

The Italian word, Farro was born from the Vulgar Latin word farrum, meaning a type of wheat. The problem is that with the popularity of gluten-free lifestyles and paleo diets, farro has become a, eh vulgar word. The reality is that Italians have been eating it for centuries and using it in everything from soups to salads. It is not gluten free but is considerably lower in gluten because it is a heritage grain. My research says that it is easier to digest than other forms of grain and wheat.

Here, in our town, we’re fortunate that our local flour mill is once again producing heritage grains. Farro is amongst them and in our efforts to eat local food, we had to try it. It’s a full, nutty grain that offers great texture yet blends well with a variety of vegetables and meats. Farro, also known as Emmer wheat, has a host of benefits that can be captured at the dining table.

  • It is full of fiber. A single one-cup serving of farro contains approximately 8 grams of fiber. Even brown rice only weighs in at 5 grams and white rice is much less.
  • Farro, like other whole grains, is full of magnesium. Magnesium is known to relieve tension and is also believed to make calcium more absorbable.
  • Because faro is a complex carbohydrate, it breaks down slowly and not only keeps energy levels stable but may also boost the immune system.

Farro Confetti
(yield about 4 cups)


  • 2 cups of farro, soaked overnight
  • 5 cups water
  • handful of lentils of various colors and sizes
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • approximately 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • collard greens, washed and cut in strips, spines removed
  • curry powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak farro overnight. Discard soak water and replace with 5 cups of cold water. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.

In a separate skillet, heat 2 – 3 Tbs of olive oil. Add garlic and onion and simmer until transparent. Add butternut squash and bell pepper and cook unit nearly tender. I added vegetable broth during this process as needed to keep the veg from sticking and to ensure uniform heat.

When the vegetables are nearly al dente, drain the grains and add to the skillet, stirring well to mix. Heat through and add curry powder and salt and pepper. Add the uncooked collards at the end and mix well as they will become tender due to the heat of the grains.

Enjoy as a vegan main dish or as a side for your meat eaters. Nothing vulgar about it!

Do you have heritage grains in your community?

Leave a comment


  1. Interesting. I was just looking at this at a Bob’s Red Mill site. Thought it was more like cream of wheat, but looks like it is like wheatberries, which we like, but I seldom fix. Not sure why. I’ll order some next time. Thanks for the push! ;->

    Virtual hugs,


  2. What a pretty dish. Magnesium is also good for cramps. I used to get a lot of cramps in my toes and calf muscles when I had to wear fins doing swim squads. After taking Mg daily, I no longer get the cramps. I didn’t know farro was high in magnesium! I’ll have to try this xx

    • You know, I was going to say that it was good for cramps and decided that I wouldn’t because I didn’t think of leg cramps. I do get toe cramps sometimes so good to know!!

  3. Farro reminds me of barley . . . plump, nutty, chewy. I would definitely make it again.

  4. I am going to have to bring some farro back from France to try. We can get spelt here but it’s not locally sourced 🙂

  5. Looks good to me.

  6. My resolution for this winter should be to finally make farro. I’ve seen so many recipes for it and have read the benefits, but I’ve never cooked it before. Thank you for the reminder!! I’ll probably be cooking your recipe soon.

    • Except for the soaking, it’s no harder than rice. In fact, would probably do okay in the rice cooker. What whole grains do you typically cook?

  7. This sounds yummy and looks great! I’ve bought pre-made farro salads in natural food stores and restaurants, but I’ve never attempted to make it myself. I will definitely give it a try!

    • I think it would be terrific in a salad. In my area, quinoa salads are the big thing although I must admit that it really is hard for me to eat mid-day as it gets stuck in my teeth! With farro, it’s large enough that I don’t have that problem.

  8. I have a bag of Farro that I bought at Trader Joes recently and wondered just what to do with it. Fascinating article, and the recipe is one I can try!

  9. I am allergic to wheat. Alas! Too bad. All you who are not may enjoy the pastries and other dishes I had to give up. I enjoyed your post. I miss bagels and bread, but I’m learning that flour made with other grains have a place, too. The most difficult thing is going to restaurants. If there is a gluten-free menu, it is small. Blessings to you, Tammy…

    • Do you have a Trader Joe’s where you live? In our area, they tag every single GF product and I think it’s easier to shop there with restrictions.

  10. Lisa H

     /  January 12, 2015

    Never heard of farro, so I am interested to try it out! You always write something to intrigue and inspire me, so thank you so much!

    • You can get it at the uptown farmers market and also try some of their other products. The polenta is great.

  11. I love farro but rarely Cook with it! I love its nutty flavour too! I knew that it was & is very healthy & really good for you! I am going to made this tasty dish tomorrow & Will serve it with vegan chorizo sausages or with grilled fish! Yummmm! 😀😀

  12. Your timing is great Tammy! I was just complaining I need some healthful side dishes that contain a grain. I would never have thought of farro…

  13. emesereka

     /  January 14, 2015

    I like farro and it is one of the few “exotic” grains that my kids will eat, too. I’m always looking for new recipes using this grain. I will definitely try this, it looks yummy (and healthy, too). Thanks for sharing.

  14. HI Tammy, How lucky to have Hayden Flour Mills making farro. Thanks for sharing the important nutritional info about it. In middle Tennessee, we have a couple of mills that grind organic corn into excellent grits and meal. Anson Mills in South Carolina has brought back Carolina Gold rice, along with a host of other “lost” grains. their products are so so good.

    • The Hayden Flour Mills have a great story! Even though they were here years ago, two years ago at our Farmer-Chef connection, an entrepreneur came with a chair and two table tents – one said, ” I need a place to grow this grain”. The other said, “I need restaurants who will buy this.” The net-net has been fabulous!

  15. What an interesting recipe, it looks very inviting, so colorful and tasty. I have never tasted “farro” although I regularly cook barley. Thank you Tammy for always bringing something different into our plates.

  16. crystalfunnycook

     /  January 31, 2015

    Looks amazing. I think I’ve seen it in my local health store so I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

  17. Yep, i want to eat this! ❤

    Greetings from Sweden 🙂

  1. Farro First | Adventures of Dorrie Anne

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