The legend of the farro


    The yummy-ness and satisfaction of pasta, minus the guilt. Photo by the author.

    I could probably live on pasta: it’s cheap, it’s versatile, and it’s ever-so tasty. But the health-conscious side of me refrains from too much pasta intake; I constantly search for more nutritious whole grain options to fill that void. As a result, I’ve fallen in love with quinoa, millet, amaranth, wild rice, kamut, buckwheat, and others. My newest love is farro.

    Rumor has it that farro was one of the world’s first domesticated plants and a grain enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians and Romans. Today the grain is widely used in Italian cooking and recently has become a favored grain among healthy foodies. Farro is not only delicious and filling, it’s also high in fiber, vitamin B, and protein. You can easily find it in Whole Foods, and try it in these recipes.

    Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

    I originally made this dish for a big group of friends and family. It was a huge hit and the leftovers were even better. I am always looking for new ways to use squash during the fall; this is a great way to use squash and other fall flavors.

      What You’ll Need:

    • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into ¾ inch cubes
    • 1 cup farro
    • ½ cup walnuts
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup chopped parsley or basil
    • Juice of ½ an orange
    • Walnut oil*
    • Honey

    *Walnut oil can be expensive, so you can substitute for another light oil like grapeseed or safflower oil.

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Place the butternut squash in an even layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with walnut oil, salt, and pepper.
    3. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, turning once, until the butternut squash is tender.
    4. Meanwhile, place the farro and 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the farro is tender but still has a bite.
    5. Drain well and pour into a large bowl.
    6. Top the farro with the squash, cranberries, walnuts, and herbs. Drizzle with walnut oil, the orange juice, and honey and mix all of the ingredients until they are fully combined.
    7. Taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly. This dish can be served immediately or left to marinade and served at room temperature. Serves 4-6 depending on portion size.

    Hearty Tomato Soup

    I used to tease my roommates because of the amount of soup they ate. Now I have somehow turned into the soup addict. This soup is a great weeknight meal and is perfect alone or served up with a classic grilled cheese sandwich.

      What You’ll Need:

    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/3 cup chickpeas, drained
    • 1/3 cup cooked farro
    • 1 ½ cups tomato soup (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Pacific Natural Foods, and Imagine all have natural and tasty versions)
    • Handful of baby spinach (arugula also works well)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Sauté the garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until it is tender.
    2. Add the chickpeas and farro and stir until the ingredients are fully heated through.
    3. Add the tomato soup and simmer.
    4. Just before serving, add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.


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