Farro, the ancient strain of wheat, was one of the first crops domesticated in Egypt. It has only become popular in recent years because it is one of the hardest grains to hull.
The Italians initiated farro’s comeback by using it as a substitute for pasta. Farro flour can be used to make a more nutritious pasta compared to those made from the typical durum and semolina flours.
Like quinoa, farro is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. Its fiber and protein content exceed those of brown rice and barley, yet it is still low in fat.
The ancient grain also has plenty of necessary vitamins and minerals, most notably magnesium, niacin, and zinc. Zinc is a very important nutrient for organizing growth and development in the body. Niacin, or vitamin B6, is necessary for energy production throughout the body. Magnesium is also important for energy production throughout the body, bone health, and managing constipation. The grain is also high in complex carbohydrates.
Because farro is a strain of wheat, it contains gluten. Those with celiac disease should not eat farro. Most farro is sold semi-pearled (with some of its bran removed) because completely whole-grain farro has to be soaked in water overnight and takes longer to cook. Unlike other pearled grains, pearled farro doesn’t lose as many nutrients in the process of removing its outer hull.
Try this Roasted Radish & Farro Salad to see how the ancient grain’s chewy texture goes with vegetables. Another popular use of farro is in soups and stews, like this Black-Eyed Pea, Chard & Farro Soup.