Farro: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the history, health benefits, and culinary uses of farro, an ancient grain making a modern comeback, with our ultimate guide to cooking and storage tips.

What is Farro?

Farro is a type of hulled wheat that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is often referred to as an "ancient grain" due to its long history and minimal processing. Farro has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, making it a popular choice for salads, soups, and pilafs. It is also used as a nutritious alternative to rice, pasta, and other grains.

Is Farro Healthy?

Yes, farro is a healthy and nutritious grain. It is an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and zinc. Farro is also low in fat and cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy choice for those looking to improve their diet.

7 Health Benefits of Farro

  1. Supports healthy digestion: The high fiber content in farro helps promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
  2. Boosts immune function: Farro is rich in zinc, which plays a crucial role in maintaining a strong immune system.
  3. Promotes heart health: The low-fat and cholesterol-free profile of farro can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  4. Aids in weight management: Farro's high fiber and protein content can help you feel fuller for longer, reducing overall calorie intake.
  5. Improves bone health: Farro contains magnesium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.
  6. Supports brain health: Farro is a good source of B vitamins, which are vital for optimal brain function and mood regulation.
  7. Fights inflammation: The antioxidants and phytonutrients in farro can help combat inflammation in the body.

History and Background of Farro

Farro is believed to have originated in the Fertile Crescent, an area in the Middle East known as the birthplace of agriculture. It has been cultivated for over 10,000 years and was a staple food for ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Today, farro is still widely grown in Italy and other Mediterranean countries, where it is celebrated for its delicious taste and nutritional benefits.

What is the Best Way to Store Farro?

To preserve the freshness and quality of farro, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Properly stored farro can last up to a year.

What are the Different Types of Farro?

There are three main types of farro: farro piccolo (small), farro medio (medium), and farro grande (large). Each variety has a slightly different texture and cooking time, but they can be used interchangeably in recipes.

What is the Best Substitute for Farro if I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have farro on hand, you can substitute it with other whole grains such as barley, spelt, or wheat berries.

What Cuisines Use Farro?

Farro is commonly used in Mediterranean, Italian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

What are the Nutritional Benefits of Farro?

As stated above, farro is a nutrient-dense grain, providing fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Its health benefits include improved digestion, immune function, heart health, and weight management.

How Do You Cook Farro?

To cook farro, rinse the grains under cold water and then simmer them in a pot of water or broth for approximately 25-40 minutes, depending on the type of farro. Drain any excess liquid and fluff with a fork before serving.

What are Some Creative Ways to Use Farro in Recipes?

Farro can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, risottos, and even breakfast bowls. Try adding cooked farro to your favorite vegetable stir-fry, or mix it with roasted vegetables and a tangy dressing for a satisfying salad.

Which Is Healthier, Quinoa Or Farro?

Quinoa is considered a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is particularly beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. Farro also contains protein but is not a complete protein source. With respect to fiber, both quinoa and farro are good sources of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health, promoting satiety, and regulating blood sugar levels. Farro tends to have slightly higher fiber content compared to quinoa.


Quinoa and farro both provide several vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is particularly rich in magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and folate. Farro is a good source of magnesium, niacin, and zinc. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Farro contains gluten and is not suitable for those following a gluten-free diet. Quinoa also has a lower glycemic index compared to farro, which means it has a lesser impact on blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage blood sugar levels.

Overall, we would say that quinoa is better than farro if you are focused on gluten and glycemic index but both are extremely healthy options compared to white rice or noodles.

Best Farro Recipes