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What is Farro?

Feb 24, 2010 by Susana Fare

According to many articles, Farro has a long and glorious history. It has been cultivated around the Mediterranean and Middle East for thousands of years, and has fed people since then. It is called The Grain of Legions, and has been used in Italy since Roman times. Now cultivated in Lazio, Umbria and Abruzzo, it probably got its name from the region’s wedding soup called “Confarrotio”.


Its exact definition and origin is still in dispute. Some researches believe its emmer wheat, famous for its cultivation by the ancient Egyptians. Others say it looks like spelt but it’s not the same. It could be piccolo, medio, or grande in size. What is most important is that it’s a whole grain.

According to in North America, this fine grain is known as Spelt–while there are occasional descriptions of spelt as not "true" Farro.

At this point, I would like to say that whatever people call it, Farro is a grain with tremendous nutrition, especially for vegetarians seeking protein, fiber, and low fat. That equation seems to be perfect. Farro, as any other whole grain, should be included in one’s daily food consumption.

There are many recipes which include Farro. I found this particular one online and created my own version adding a key ingredient. The recipe includes butternut squash, sweet potato and red onion. Squash is high in beta carotene. Sweet potato is one of the super foods we need for our healthy diet. And red onion, rich in flavonoids, is known for being a good antioxidant.

Farro with roasted squash, sweet potato and red onion

1 cup farro, rinsed and drained
1+ cups vegetable broth
1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 large red onion cut into 8
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled


To speed this dish, soak the farro the night before cooking it. The next day, boil the farro with vegetable broth until tender. Depending on the grain, it could take 20-30 minutes  It’s a good idea to test it while cooking to preserve the firmness of the grain. When ready, drain and set aside.

In the meantime, spray olive oil in a baking sheet and arrange the squash, sweet potato, and onion in a single layer. Sprinkle thyme on top and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Flip ingredients in the middle of the cooking to get an even baking. Depending on your oven and dice sizes, it could take some additional time.

When the vegetables are ready, remove from the oven and let them cool. When the onions are ready, mince them.

In a medium bowl, then mix all the ingredients together, leaving goat cheese for the end. Then garnish the dish with goat cheese and fresh parsley.

Serves: 4

If you want or need more vegetarian recipes or instructions on different dishes, you can find them here or at my blog Spanish Steps.

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Food, Recipes, SoCal, Vegetarian
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