Warm Farro and Greens

I recently was enlightened to Farro, one of the ancient grains making their way to mainstream supermarket shelves. When I decided I wanted to try to cook farro, I had no idea the little brown grain had such an ardent following of foodies that would take to the internet to dispel the beliefs that it is equivocal to another ancient grain, spelt (see here and here for examples). Controversy over ingredients excites me more than anything, so I was super excited to give this grain a try.

Farro is not always a whole grain, as I found out. Many of the store-bought farro actually has part of the bran removed, called semi-pearled, making for a quicker cooking time (about 45 minutes, similar to brown rice) with some of the fiber left intact. If you purchase the whole grain version be sure to soak it overnight. Either way, once cooked to al dente you will notice that this mighty morsel packs more flavor that your run-of-the-mill brown rice. It is deeply nutty, and has a chewy texture that really makes it stand out. It absorbs the flavors it is cooked in, so throw a little chicken or veggie stock to add a little umami. But even without seasoning farro can provide a complexity to dishes you may not have thought to use it in… such as salad.

I decided to try farro over a hearty green salad. I was inspired by my one of husband’s favorite salad at Sweet Greens, the Earth Bowl, which includes warm grains over arugula. (Delish!)  I used kale for the salad, however you can use any type of green that can withhold the weight of the farro, veggies and eggs in this recipe. I also include here a recipe for Citrus and Dill Salad Dressing, which is a perfect pairing for any summery salad. 

Farro would also be great thrown into a soup, or used like a pilaf style side dish. It has a multitude of uses, which I am looking forward to experimenting with. I’d love to hear some of your recipe suggestions using farro in the comments section!

Warm Farro and Greens Salad with a Fried Egg
Serves 6-8

1 cup farro, dry
3 cups water
1 head of kale or swiss chard, chopped
½ red onion, diced
1 large tomato from the vine, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1-2 avocados, diced
4oz Citrus and Dill Dressing
Olive oil or butter
1-2 eggs for each person
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook the farro in salted, boiling water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare an ice bath for blanching the kale or swiss chard.
  3.  Add the greens to the pot of boiling water and stir once. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then remove the greens. Place immediately in the ice bath for 2 minutes. Dry kale using a salad spinner or paper towels.
  4. Combine farro, greens, onion, tomato, pepper, avocados and season with salt and pepper and add Citrus and Dill dressing. Mix well. Plate the salad on individual plates for serving.
  5. In a small pan melt olive oil or butter. Fry the eggs in the pan and season to taste. Place on top of the salad on each plate to serve.

Fresh Citrus and Dill Dressing:

¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp shallot, diced fine
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped fine

  1. Add all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk well. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.