If you’re still a bit intimidated by whole grains, then go ahead and throw some tasty Italian farro in your shopping cart. Farro is super easy to cook, and rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E - a good addition to a whole foods lifestyle. Here I make a simple and tasty farro salad with coconut and mango.
That’s all well said, but the truth is that my virtuous bag of farro sat in the cupboard for a year before I cracked it open… I had no idea what do to with it. I used to think that it was just wheat berries under another name — but it’s not the same plant at all. Farro is an ancient, unhybridized wheat-like grain used for thousands of years in North Africa and the Middle East. It has an earthy, nutty, al-dente quality similar to barley/steel cut oats. It’s not a “heavy” tasting grain like wheat, and the internets say farro goes well in salads, soups and even makes a creamy risotto (a “farrotto”!!), except it won’t go all gluggy like rice does when cold.
I made a few “deli-style” salads in the last while, and I love to have them in the fridge. This one can be enjoyed cold, or warm. We had it with pan-fried salmon on the first day, then cold for lunch the day after. You can skip roasting your red peppers to save time, or use roasted peppers from a jar. There’s no rigid formula — skip or add some new ingredients if you like. Btw, I had just tossed the ingredients together in the pictures, and added the dressing later.
Doublecheck you label when you buy farro, so you end up with the right thing. Farro is often confused with spelt, which takes hours upon hours to cook. There’s a whole thing about it online which makes yam vs. sweet potato confusion thing look like nothing. I’m not even going there. So, I told you it takes 20 minutes to cook, right? Just look on the back of the package and doublecheck this is what it says. Here is what a bag of farro looks like, to give you an idea.
I think it’s healthy to eat a variety of things, and by doing so you might just find something you enjoy and want to have on a regular basis. I know I’ll give farro another go soon — I’m thinking a salad with feta, olive oil, cranberries and toasted walnuts. Or a farrotto!
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 1½ cups mango flesh, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced (roast your own, or use one from a jar)
- ½ cup shelled and cooked edamame
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ lime, juiced
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the farro according to instructions. 1 cup uncooked farro will yield approx. 3 cups cooked.
- In a small bowl, add the fresh lime juice, coconut milk, honey and season with salt and pepper and mix well.
- In a large bowl, mix the cooked farro and all of the remaining ingredients for the salad. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss very well. Serve immediately or keep chilled until ready to eat.