A Fondness for Farro

Like many people, I tend to food cycle.  You know, when you get obsessed with a particular food, can’t stop eating it, eat it every day for a few weeks, and then don’t want to look at it again for a while.

Right now, I’m in a faro food cycle.

What’s farro, you ask?

It’s a grain that has been grown in the Middle East for centuries, and it packs a nutritional punch.  As a whole gran, it is a complex carbohydrate.  But what makes farro so great is that it has twice the protein and fiber of wheat.  It’s a fantastic carb-protein balance to give you energy and keep you full.  And for those of us who love quick-cooking healthy foods, farro can be made in less than 15 minutes from the time you put the pot on the stove.  Farro does contain gluten, but the molecules are smaller than in wheat and it can be digested by many people who cannot tolerate wheat due to gluten.

Farro is used in Italy mainly as a side dish, but I love to eat it for lunch as a main.  It blends with so many types of foods and easily takes on either savory or sweet tastes.  My favorite super easy savory preparation is to grab a bag of “Tuscan blend” frozen vegetables and steam them in the microwave.

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When the faro is ready 10 minutes after coming to a boil, I put it into a bowl, place half of the bag of veggies on top, and sprinkle it with parmesan.  What that gives me is an under 400 calorie lunch with whole grains, great protein, and delightful mix of vegetables (zucchini, two types of bell peppers, artichokes, and asparagus).  Best of all, it reheats beautifully, so this is a prep once-eat twice lunch.

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My favorite sweet style of farro is to mix it with pecans and cranberries.  It has a decidedly fall flavor to it, but it’s so delicious that I can’t stop eating it.   I sometimes put a sprinkle of feta cheese on top for additional creaminess, and who can really argue with that?

For a quick, healthy, nearly endlessly adaptable lunch or vegetarian dinner, farro is your friend.  Next time you’re hanging out in the dried beans and grains aisle of your grocery store, look to see if farro is there.  I’ve come to appreciate this versatile food, especially because my kids gobble it up in ways that the other, more popular wondergrain quinoa has yet to win them over.

Good health and great happiness to you!

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