Farro: A look at a historical grain

Published 8:01 am Sunday, January 4, 2015

Farro is a new grain to most Americans, but it has actually been around for more than 2,000 years.

Mostly known to be a staple in the ancient Roman diet and still very popular in Italy, this hearty grain can be used in substitution for any recipe that calls for brown rice or wheat berries. Farro is extremely nutritious and also Hy-Vee’s dietitian’s pick of the month for January.

One cup contains 8 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber and 7 grams of muscle-building protein, and is also a good source of iron.

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As a newer trend, common questions asked about this whole grain are “Where can I find farro?” and “How do I cook it?” Lucky for you, Hy-Vee now has its very own line of ancient grains.
Your local Hy-Vee carries more than just farro. You can choose to also experiment with black beluga lentils, black barley or red quinoa, to name a few.

To prepare farro, just place it in a pot with enough water to completely cover the grain. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for around 30 minutes.

Drain off any excess water and voila. You’ve got farro that is ready to be incorporated into any soup, stew, casserole or salad recipe you have in mind. Try this delicious salad or side dish recipe below to bring a taste of Italy to your table.

Cherry Almond Farro

Cherry Almond Farro

Cherry-Almond Farro Salad

Serves 6 (3/4 cup each)

All you need

•1 c. farro, rinsed

•2 c. water

•1/2 tsp salt, divided

•1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar

•3 tbsp Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil

•1/4 tsp Hy-Vee fresh ground pepper

•2 c. sweet cherries, pitted and halved

•1/2 c. diced ricotta salata or Hy-Vee Select feta cheese

•1/4 c. Hy-Vee slivered almonds, toasted

•3 tbsp finely diced red onion

•2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

All you do
1. Combine farro, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the farro is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid and fluff with a fork. Spread the farro out on a large rimmed baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add cherries, ricotta salata (or feta), almonds, onion, mint and the farro. Gently stir to combine.

3. To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Source: Adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.