FABULOUS FARRO: Alternative to rice is tasty and full of good protein, fiber

Very old with roots that can be traced back as far as ancient Rome, it’s only fairly recently that nutty, chewy farro has made a strong appearance on grocery store shelves.

I absolutely love farro. This ancient wheat variety is tasty, easy to cook, doesn’t get mushy and is versatile enough to go from breakfast to dinner. The fact that it comes with good protein and fiber is what I call a bonus.

Try farro as you look for new grains, starting with my Farro and Berry Bowl and Mushroom Pilaf. Don’t stop there. Once cooked, farro keeps well in the fridge, making it perfect to have on hand to sprinkle on salad or stir into soups at the last minute.

Quickly warm it to serve as a side dish or as the base for your favorite bowl. Farro is fabulous just about any way that you would serve brown rice.

If you haven’t tried farro, treat yourself.  I’m betting that it will soon become a favorite of yours, too.

Farro and Berry Bowl

Makes 2 servings

Doubles easily to serve 4

Sweet antioxidant-rich berries, a little creamy yogurt and crunchy pecans make this heart-friendly breakfast bowl feel like a spa on a spoon. Cinnamon-sprinkled farro adds flavorful grain goodness without any added sodium. My kind of breakfast.

½ cup uncooked farro

Cook farro according to package instructions, including rinsing if indicated in instructions

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons maple syrup

¼ cup fat-free Greek yogurt

1 ½ cups fresh mixed blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries or frozen berries, thawed

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Stir cinnamon and syrup into hot farro. Remove from stove and stir in yogurt.

Spoon into bowls. Top with berries and pecans. Enjoy.

Nutritional information per serving: 310 calories; 6.5g fat; 0g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 10mg sodium; 57g carbohydrate — 37g farro; 13g berries — 10 g fiber; 11g sugars; 11g protein; % Daily Value – 2% Vit. A; 6 % Calcium; 30% Vit. C; 14% Iron

Photo courtesy of Sarahdoow
Photo courtesy of Sarahdoow

Mushroom Farro Pilaf

Makes 4 (1 cup) servings

Firmer than rice, farro makes a fantastic pilaf. Toasting adds to farro’s naturally nutty flavor. This ancient wheat has enough natural bite to hold up to mushrooms and longer cooking without becoming the least bit soggy.

Add cooked shrimp or cubed chicken breast and your Pilaf becomes a main-dish. 

Nonstick cooking spray

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

Choose a Dutch oven or large pot with a lid. Lightly coat bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Add oil and heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper. Stir well and cook until onions and bell pepper just begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced, about 2 cups

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Add mushrooms and garlic, stir well, and cook until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.

¼ teaspoon pepper

Stir in pepper and remove pot from heat.

Carefully spoon mixture onto a large plate. Set aside.

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed if package directs

Photo courtesy of gstock
Photo courtesy of gstock

Return pot to stove over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat. Stir in farro. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly, to toast lightly.

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ teaspoon paprika

Add broth and paprika. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the farro is just tender and a lot of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in mushroom and pepper mixture along with any liquid on plate. Cook, uncovered, until mushrooms heat through and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Stir cheese into pot.  Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 4.5g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 95 mg sodium; 42g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 2 g sugars; 11g protein; % Daily Value – 6% Vit. A; 6 % Calcium; 20% Vit. C; 14% Iron

Cooking questions? Email me at

Copyright 2017 Carla F. Williams All Rights Reserved