A little while ago, Bob’s Red Mill sent me a big box full of different kinds of grains. There was tri-color quinoa, millet, bulgur, spelt, teff, wheat berries and farro. I couldn’t decide where to start, which grain to cook with first. But then I remembered having a delicious side dish made with farro at an Italian restaurant and I knew that farro was the one.
Farro is an ancient grain that’s been around forever. Longer than any other grain, in fact. It’s believed that it is the grain from which all others derive (see thekitchn.com for more info).
Farro is high in protein, fiber and B Complex vitamins and it’s pretty low in gluten.
When cooked, farro looks a bit like barley but it has a chewier texture. That chewy texture remains even after long-cooking so it’s great in soups and stews where it never gets soggy. That chewy texture also makes for tasty salads. You can pretty much take any pasta salad recipe and turn it into a farro salad recipe successfully. For instance, check out this Greek Farro Salad Recipe by The Lemon Bowl.
The first time I made farro at home, I cooked it according to the package directions and then mixed in some shredded cheddar cheese just until it melted in. My husband and I loved it. My 5 year old son was not a fan. But my 2 year old? “Mo fawo pweez,” came out of her mouth *three* times during that dinner. It was pretty amazing to watch her gobble it up and keep asking for more.
Since then I’ve been making a bunch of things with farro. There are these amazing meatballs with farro and rosemary in them and this easy creamy side dish with spinach and cream cheese. Over the coming weeks I’m going to be sharing more farro recipes with you too. There’s a recipe coming up for Special Fried Farro, one for a Farro Bolognese Bake, a Tabouleh made with farro and so much more.
For now, I’m going to give you basic instructions on how to cook farro.
You can speed up the cooking time for farro by soaking it in cool water. But honestly, since it only takes about 30 minutes to cook farro without soaking it I don’t usually bother with this step. To soak farro measure it into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add enough cold water to completely submerge the grain. Put the lid on the pot and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
In terms of portion sizes, farro doesn’t expand as much as rice or barley. So I tend to make a bit more than I would other grains. Where I would have started with 1 cup of uncooked rice or barley, I’ll use 1 and 1/2 cups of uncooked farro.
You can cook farro on the stove top, in the oven or in the slow cooker. I’m giving instructions for all three below.
Note: There are different kinds of farro out there (whole grain, pearled, semi-pearled and different varieties too) and it’s not always easy to tell which kind you have. This means that cooking times aren’t exact. I’m giving the cooking times that were needed for the Bob’s Red Mill Farro. Other farros may take a little less or a little longer to cook. Generally, for stove top you’re looking at between 20-40 minutes simmering time, for oven-cooked farro 30-45 minutes and for slow cooker 2-3.5 hours. Don’t worry too much about this large range though. Farro doesn’t get mushy when overcooked so if you plan for the longer amount of time and yours is ready sooner, it won’t hurt to keep cooking it for awhile.
Here are three methods for how to cook farro. The cook time for the stove top method is listed here. The cook times for the oven and slow cooker methods is listed in the notes section.
On the Stove Top
In a Slow Cooker
In the Oven
On a Stove Top
In a Slow Cooker
In the Oven
Cook Time for Slow Cooker Method
Prep time 2 mins
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 2 hours 2 mins
Cook Time for Oven Method
Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 35 mins
Total time 40 mins
And here are some delicious-sounding recipes that I’ve found on other blogs:
Cabbage Rolls with Turkey Sausage and Farro from It’s Yummi
Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina from thekitchn.com
Baked Farro Risotto from 101 Cookbooks
Individual Farro Chickpea Egg Bake from The Chic Life