Healthy Living on June 11, 2014 by

What is it? Wednesday: Farro

What is farro? Farro is a general Italian term for wheat. This includes the ancient wheat varieties of Spelt, Einkorn, and Emmer. In the food world, if you order farro, you could be getting any variation on those three grains- from a whole grain kernel to something that has been pearled. At Bob’s Red Mill, our farro is made from spelt that has been lightly scored.

Is farro a whole grain? Our farro, like many in the market, is not technically a whole grain. It has been lightly scored to facilitate the release of starches when cooking. Only the smallest amount of bran is removed in this process, but any loss prevents it from being classified as whole grain. When cooked, the kernel almost pops open and releases starch. This makes a perfect ingredient for dishes like risotto (often called farrotto when using farro) where you want the grain to soften over time and create a creamy dish.


Is farro gluten free? No, regardless of which variety of wheat farro is made from, they all contain gluten.

How do you use farro? Farro can be used in a variety of ways- from sweet to savory. At its most basic, farro can make a lovely addition to soups, salads and pilafs, but there are many recipes available that take farro above and beyond the basic.

Substitutions for Farro Farro is very versatile and can be replaced in most recipes with spelt berries, wheat berries and Kamut® berries. If you want a gluten free substitute, sorghum, brown rice and oat groats will all make good replacements in most recipes. When replacing farro, keep in mind what the cooking times and applications. For instance, replacing farro in a cold grain salad is simple- almost any grain will work in place of another for this kind of dish. If, however, you’re adding uncooked farro to a soup, you’ll want to account for the different cooking times of the grain you plan to use instead.

Farrotto | Bob's Red Mill

Our favorite ways to enjoy Farro:


Karen Salstrom says:

Hi, Bob
I am of Italian descent and have recently had to go gluten free. One thing I missed at Christmas time was something we called Cuccia. It is soaked and cooked wheat berries, combined with garbanzo beans olive oil and salt. It’s a sicilian dish for st. Lucy day. What would be an appropriate gluten free grain substitute for wheat berries in this dish? Or should I just use something like cream of rice and settle for it? Thanks for any help you can give.

Brown Rice would work great here, as would sorghum grain. Sorghum is very chewy and would be similar to wheat berries in texture.

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