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Farro – A Low-Gluten Grain Packed With Protein

Farro – Have you heard of it?

Not Pharaoh – Farro?

Farro is ancient, minimally processed, and nutritious grain that is believed to have fed the Roman legions as they marched across Europe and the Middle East. As many ultra events often become a march of some sort, Farro sounded like a food source worth investigating.

What did I uncover?

Get Your Protein Here

Farro contains a significant 7 grams of protein per serving (1/4 cup dry). This is greater than either Quinoa or Brown Rice.

Low Gluten

Although not gluten-free, Farro has significantly less gluten than wheat. For those that have sensitivities to gluten or concerns with it, this may be noteworthy.

Moderately Short Cook Time

The pearled Farro I own cooks up in 15 minutes. Just enough time to get in some Trigger Point / Foam Roller and mobility work. ;)

Taste

Many often explain the taste as “nutty”. I feel nutty in saying nutty but apparently not typing nutty so…I can only describe it as having a very mild flavor as one would typically expect from a grain.

The cooked Farro size is greater than brown rice or Quinoa, so you do enjoy a chewier experience. Farro may just burn the most calories in the grain category as you enjoy it. Bonus!

Cooked Farro grains along with Abe

Cooked Farro with fruit.

Very Flexible

I have found Farro very tasty both warm, cold, plain, or with a team of supporting food mates.

A few ways I have Farro’d it up:

  • Plain bowl to supplement my meal (may toss in a little Feta cheese)
  • Breakfast with some fruit
  • Warm within a Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash recipe (recipe on back of bag)
  • Add it to a big tasty salad. Very nice addition especially if you want some extra protein/carbs.
  • Add to a thin soup to hearty it up.
  • Add to some vegetarian enchiladas to up the protein.

The Biggest Challenge – Where to find it?

Unfortunately, it is not that common of a grain in the U.S. We purchased our organic 48 oz bag at Costco for $7-$8. I have seen it at Whole Foods (smaller bag) although the price is nowhere close to Costco.

The 3 pounder from Costco

The best prices I could find online was at Shop Organic.

You can also check Amazon.

More Recipes

For more tasty Farro food ideas, you can check out the Farro Recipe Section on Earthly Choice. You will find a couple recipes for Side Dishes, Salads, Soups, Breakfast, and Dinner categories.

My family is a big fan of this hearty grain. Farro also provides another option for those looking for vegetarian sources of protein. March on!

For those that eat Farro, what do you think of it? Any recipies?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

(photos: Courtesy of d4vidbruce)

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

19 Responses to “Farro – A Low-Gluten Grain Packed With Protein”

  1. on 26 Jan 2011 at 12:42 pm Sarah

    I love farro! But I’ve never cooked it. The cafeteria where I work has an awesome (mostly) organic salad bar, usually with various whole grains and beans. I get excited when they have farro. : ) I’ll make a salad of grains and beans as the base and veggies and nuts/seeds on top. Are you a vegetarian? I guess I’m a flexitarian. I avoid dairy, but will eat eggs and occasional meat/fish.

    P.S. After some further email discussions with the trigger point people, I went ahead and bought one of their kits! Sorry I couldn’t use your link….I get a better discount at runningwarehouse with my club discount….otherwise I would have! I’m supposed to get it today. Thanks again for your review!

  2. on 26 Jan 2011 at 2:36 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Sarah – That salad sounds great! I have found the Farro to really be a nice addition to a fully loaded salad. I like the nuts and seeds as well. Yum! Sometimes I will include a few dried cranberries or apple slices.

    No, I am not a vegetarian. 3-4 dinners a week are completed non-meat meals and the rest usually include high quality (organic, farm raised, etc) meats which usually means salmon, chicken, beef (periodically), bison, or wild game (from my wife’s father). Our meat portion sizes have gone way down from 10+ years ago as well. We do not drink milk but do purchase goat’s milk periodically if a particular recipe calls for milk. Recently I have been eating quite a few organic eggs for breakfast to have a bit higher protein meal to start the day.

    Happy mobility with the TP kit! :)

  3. on 02 Feb 2011 at 12:19 pm Jim

    Hi David, thanks for this post — I just ordered some farro online and am really excited to try it! My “go to” grains are usually brown rice and quinoa. I had no idea that farro is such a great source of protein!

    I have enjoyed browsing the articles on this website — great information as I train for my first ultra this April — 50km! Thank you!

  4. on 02 Feb 2011 at 4:59 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Jim – Great to hear from you. We were the same as you with respect to the “go to” grains. Farro is a really nice addition to the list. Let us know what you think of it once you try it. Would love to get your thoughts.

    Thanks for the kind words on the site…really appreciate it!

    What 50 km are you planning to experience?

    Enjoy the journey!

  5. on 18 Feb 2011 at 4:08 pm Jim

    Hi David, tried some farro this week. Love it! So far, I have had it hot for breakfast with some fruit as you suggested above. I agree, it is rather chewy, but I like the texture! I also made a simple salad with it using garbanzo beans, assorted veggies, fresh garlic, and a light oil/vinegar dressing. That was very good also. Have you thought of any more ways to use it?

    I’m training for the Quicksilver 50k in San Jose in April! Should be an experience! Cheers!

  6. on 21 Feb 2011 at 8:56 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Jim, Great to hear you liked the Farro. I really dig it added to a salad as well.

    This evening actually, we had farro mixed in with a vegetarian winter squash enchilada recipe. We reduced the amount of squash and added cooked farro – loved it!

    We have also added some cooked farro to simple tomato soup as well.

    I don’t think we have used it to many other ways so far but the possibilities are close to endless.

    Good luck with your Quicksliver 50 km adventure…looks like a fun one.

  7. on 24 Feb 2012 at 3:49 pm Fox

    I too recently discovered Farro at Costco. So far, I’ve tried it in several ways:
    - added it to vegetable soup
    - cooked it for breakfast with sweetened cranberries, ginger and a pinch of salt, topped with almond milk and blue agave nectar (yummy)
    - cooked it as a side dish with a little salt and cayenne
    - mixed chilled, cooked leftover farro with tuna, soy sour cream, a few capers, homemade sweet pickled onions (chopped) and a little turmeric… tuna salad with a twist, great on a bed of greens
    - added it to bean chili for a little extra protein and texture
    - substituted it for brown rice in my favorite rice-and-black-bean recipe (cooks in less time than brown rice, and makes a tasty change)

  8. on 27 Feb 2012 at 8:43 pm David Hanenburg

    Fox – Great to hear you found it locally at your Costco. Still missing from mine over the past year.

    This little grain is definitely versatile…and tasty.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. on 02 Oct 2012 at 9:34 pm Berit

    Hi all, I’m a little late to this post, but I thought you might be interested in this Wild Mushroom and Farro recipe from Bon Appetit. I’m a vegetarian so I used veggie broth instead of chicken and I cut out the butter. Next time I’ll have it with a side of Field Roast’s vegetarian apple-sage sausage.

    2 cups semi-pearled farro
    Kosher salt
    2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
    4 cups (about 8 ounces) assorted fresh mushrooms (such as chanterelle, porcini, lobster, maitake, and crimini), cut into 1″ pieces
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

    Cook farro in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, let cool, and set aside. DO AHEAD: Farro can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers (the oil needs to be very hot to crisp the mushrooms). Working in batches, add a single layer of mushrooms to skillet. Cook, turning once, until crisp and cooked through, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a plate; season with salt and pepper.

    Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add farro and cook, stirring often, until broth evaporates. Season farro with salt and pepper. Add butter and stir vigorously to combine and create a creamy texture. Add mushrooms, parsley, chives, and thyme; stir just to evenly incorporate. Serve immediately.

  10. on 22 Oct 2012 at 9:22 am David Hanenburg

    Hey Berit – Thanks for sharing the recipe! This food talk is making me hungry. :)

  11. on 21 Nov 2012 at 10:05 pm Nikk

    Farro makes a fantastic rissotto and can also be used nicely for a farro pilaf!

  12. on 12 Dec 2012 at 10:40 am David Hanenburg

    Sounds tasty Nikk! We do enjoy risotto periodically in our fam. Thanks for sharing.

  13. on 02 Jan 2013 at 2:06 pm digby

    Best to use whole grain farro, not pearled or semi-pearled; which is the difference between brown rice and polished white rice. Especially for those of us who are sensitive to gluten.

  14. on 07 Apr 2013 at 11:16 pm Julie

    A summer salad

    1 1/2 cups of cooked farro (I simmer with organic toasted sesame oil and basil)
    4 celery sticks chopped
    1 English cucumber (pealed chopped and seeds removed)
    1 cup of Kalamata olives, diced
    1cup of toasted almond slivers
    1 1/2 cups of barbecued chicken diced

    Mix it up. Best cold on a hot Sumers day.
    ENJOY!

  15. on 12 Apr 2013 at 11:27 am David Hanenburg

    Nice insight digby!

    Julie – Sounds delicious!! Thanks for sharing.

  16. on 02 Jul 2013 at 10:24 pm Rinda

    I have been using farro now for about 2 years after seeing it in a “Clean Eating” magazine. I cook mine longer, as I don’t like to chew it. Being a busy grandma/mom I cook up a 3 lb. bag and then freeze it in 1/2 c servings, as this is how much I put on my daily kale salad along with 1/2 c of some kind of cooked bean and other veggies. Having several auto-immune diseases and other medical problems, I was fortunate to find a physician that has extended her OB/Gyn practice into integrative medicine. Diet/nutrition is one area she really follows. She was impressed with my using farro.
    I buy mine through Amazon.com. I just noticed that the price has been raised from $8.99/3 lbs. to $9.99/3lbs. There are ways of getting a 5% discount–check out Amazon. This makes farro comparable to what I pay for organic, pre-washed quinoa by buying 25 lbs. at a time. I find farro more enjoyable than the smaller grains (brown rice & quinoa) in my kale salads, as the smaller grains “get lost.”

  17. on 08 Nov 2013 at 1:19 pm Betty Meyers

    I tasted farro for the first time this week when my grandson (a chef) served it to me as a stir fry. My daughter recently discovered she has a gluten allergy, so I have been trying to find grains she can eat, and different ways to prepare them. Thanks for all of the info on Farro.

  18. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:34 am Janie Reichlmayr

    I’ve been eating Farro about a year and love it. I cook mine in low sodium broths to enhance the flavor and cook enough to use in different dishes. One night I will simply as a side in place of rice or quinoa. The next night I’ll add it to stir fried chicken or shrimp & vegetables. Following night it may be added to soup or stews. For breakfast, I cook the Farro in almond milk, which is higher in calcium than milk, give it a couple shakes of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Again, I cook 3-4 servings to save time from cooking and washing dishes. I can then eat it hot or cold, add some sliced banana, different types of berries and nuts… whatever I feel like that morning.

  19. on 22 Jan 2014 at 10:21 am David Hanenburg

    Rinda – Thanks for sharing! Always nice to have healthy food ready to go when life gets busy.

    Betty – Thanks for visiting. Was Farro something your daughter could eat with her gluten allergy?

    Janie – The breakfast ideas all sound tasty! Thanks for sharing!

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