FARRO: The Trendy, Not-so-new, “Supergrain”
Step aside quinoa. Farro is not only here, but it seems to be everywhere. Surely you’ve seen farro dishes gracing the menus at all the trendiest spots. While it may seem as though farro’s popularity sprouted overnight, (my spell-checking doesn’t even recognize it yet! Did you mean, “Fargo,” or perhaps, “Mia Farrow?”) the truth is, farro is an ancient grain that has been around for centuries.
This newly-hailed “supergrain” served as a staple for the Roman legions and tantalized the tastebuds of Egyptian kings. However, as more and more people embrace the health benefits of whole grains, farro’s popularity has taken off and this light and slightly nutty grain is finding its way into a variety of recipes, from salads to breakfast bowls.
What Are the Weight Loss / Health-Benefits of Farro
But why farro? What are the health benefits? For starters, farro is high in fiber, which makes it a heart-healthy food that is great for digestion. In fact, one ½ cup serving of farro contains around seven grams of cholesterol-reducing fiber. Fiber rich foods also keep you feeling full for longer, which should cut out those cravings.
Vegetarian? Or perhaps you are trying to cut down on your meat consumption? Farro is a wonderful source of plant-based protein, in fact, this ancient grain provides the same amount of protein you would find in most beans and legumes.
Farro also contains a higher amount of antioxidants than wheat and other types of whole grains, including phenolic compounds, which are shown to be linked to disease prevention. The specific compound found in farro, called cyanogenic glucosides, can help boost immunity levels, lower inflammation and cholesterol, as well as regulate blood sugar levels.
Which Type of Farro Should You Buy: Whole, Semi-Pearled, or Pearled?
Now that you know the health benefits of farro, it’s time to head to the store to buy it. Wait- not so fast! There’s more to know before you toss farro into your shopping cart. You’ll want to distinguish between whole farro, semipearled and pearled farro or you could end up preparing yourself a farro breakfast bowl that’ll cause you to chip a tooth!
- Pearled Farro: Pearled farro has been polished to remove most of the outer bran, which makes it more tender and requires a shorter cooking time of around 25 minutes. It’s the fastest and easiest farro to cook
- Semi-Pearled Farro: Semipearled is similar to pearled, but it does retain some of the bran and may require a few extra minutes of cooking. A good compromise between health benefits and convenience
- Whole Grain Farro: Whole grain farro has the highest nutritional content, with the bran still intact, but requires overnight soaking. If you try to cook whole farro the same way you’d cook pearled farro, your grains will be as hard as a rock! Make sure to distinguish which type you are buying before you attempt to cook it, for the best results.
As far as which type of farro to buy – it’s a personal choice. You can’t go wrong- farro is great for your body in any form. If you want to receive the maximum health benefit, however, go for the whole grain. or at least the semi-pearled variety. Just don’t forget to toss it in some water before you go to bed at night to save yourself some frustration… or a sore jaw.
Is Farro Gluten Free?
Farro is actually a type of wheat. Being wheat it contains the gluten protein, (also found it barley, bulgur, & rye) so farro is not gluten free!
How Many Calories / How Much Fat Does Farro Have?
While there are big time health benefits to eating farro including high protein and fiber, it’s relatively high in calories. For example, one cup of cooked or uncooked faro has about 300 calories, which is twice much as a lower-calorie alternative like bulgur wheat
A cup of farro also has about 2 grams of fat, which is also more than double what bulgur has. So, really, if you are on a diet focused mostly on low calorie intake like Medifast, consider substituting grilled vegetables or bulgur for farro.
Farro Salad Recipes (Mostly Vegetarian)
Whether or not you are on a diet, here are couple of popular recipes for farro salad:
- Farro salad recipes on Pinterest
- Farro salad with asparagus & parmesan recipe – all recipes.com
- Summer farro salad recipe – foodandwine.com
- Mediterranean Chicken & Farro Salad –
Weight Watchers & Farro Recipes: Tasty Farro Salad & More
Wondering how many weight watchers points farro recipes have? There are a number of good farro recipes on the Weight Watchers site, including faro salad
- Farro Salad with tomatoes & balsamic vinegar – (3 weight watchers Points Plus)
- Farro Salad w/ Summer Vegetables – (3 weight watchers Points Plus)
- Greek farro-salad – With asparagus, peas, feta, & dill – (3 weight watchers Points Plus)