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.
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.
(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?