Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Italian Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Though farro is not the easiest ingredient to find these days, according to Wikipedia it's an ancient grain, and one of the first domesticated crops in the Near East, eaten widely for thousands of years. Now, you can only find it in fancy grocery stores or Italian delis, though its popularity is growing. Similar to barley or spelt but without the tendency to become mushy or spongy—farro always remains firm, chewy, and nutty—it's something I've wanted to learn how to cook.

This recipe from Jamie Oliver fit the bill, a simple warm salad of roasted vegetables—some of the classic flavors of ratatouille—tossed with the cooked farro and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. This could have turned out delicious or it could have tasted like health food. Thankfully, it was unexpectedly good, the deep flavors from the roasting pairing well with the nutty flavor of the farro, while its chewy texture was perfect against the softness of the vegetables.

If you can find farro, get the "pearlized" or "semi-pearlized" version, which will cook quickly and doesn't require soaking. Also try replacing farro with bulgar wheat, spelt, or another whole grain.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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