Farro…the Italian substitute for PASTA


After a very long winter and a wet spring, summer has officially  arrived in Bologna. And so have light dresses,picnics and bikinis. About a month ago I hopelessly tried to launch my annual Bikini Operation. The stress of exams, blog research… Italian food in general, have seriously impaired my effort of getting bikini ready. Some minor changes will hopefully prevent a bikini fiasco.

By now, I have read if not all the diets in the world (lets face it, that is impossible), a great deal of them. Whilst I am by no means an expert, one thing is cut clear to me: Sugar (in what ever form) is a serious killer to be avoided.

Because sugar is “everywhere”, cutting back on sweets and ice cream is no longer enough.  I have been trying to find alternatives and this is when Farro came into my life…


Have you ever heard of Farro?

Farro is much more that a pasta substitute, it is also my new obsession. Farro is tasty and very versatile, it goes pretty much with everything. You can make all sorts of salads, soups and mix it with any kind of vegetable (a cold salad made of farro, green beans and pesto is one of my fav!).

Originally farro was a grain used in traditional italian cuisine. It was mainly used in the mountain regions of central Italy (Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo) where it constituted one of the main ingredients of its rural populations. It is increasingly becoming very popular across the country due to its great nutritional proprieties. In fact Farro is very rich in fiber, protein and vitamins, low in sugar and calories; in fact it has fewer calories than pasta and most other grains. It absorbs a lot of water when digested, meaning you feel full much faster. BINGO!

As part of this Italian “vita”, I have decided to include a few recipes with this incredible ingredient. Starting with Farro salad.


Before you start off you must soak the Farro in water for a couple of hours. Then Boil it in salty water until it gets soft but stays somewhat crunchy (30 min usually).

Prepare the Farro’s “vinaigrette”.

collage 1

Farro ” vinaigrette” : chose some herbs (in this case I used some Thyme, Origano and Rosemary) from the terrace , cut them in small pieces and place them in a cup with some olive oil.

collage 2

Make a salad.

Add dry seeds to make it slightly more interesting( in this case Pumpkin, Sunflower, Poppy, Flax, Mustard).

Once the Farro is ready drain it and mix it with the vinaigrette. Then add to the salad and mix.

collage 7collage 6

Easy peasy!



14 thoughts on “Farro…the Italian substitute for PASTA

  1. Hey!That sounds good. I wonder where I can find farro here.What is the ratio of olive oil/herbs to vinager,and do you use wine vinager or balsamic? It would be interesting to know.

  2. Pingback: 5 Great Recipes Using Farro | Gracie's Ravioli

  3. Hi, Teresa. I am also a huge fan of Farro. It is widely available in the US and popular. Your recipe is simple but elegant and flavorful – and your photos, as always, are amazing. Amazing! 🙂 Your lighting is perfect, as is the composition. You know, other great, whole grain substitutes for pasta that we are enjoy are barley, millet and quinoa. Of course, polenta is actually a whole grain, too. Oh – recently, I found organic orzo that was made from 100% whole grain / whole wheat Italian semolina. It was high in fiber and protein. Thanks for sharing – and have a great night. Best, Shanna

    • Hi Shanna!
      thank you for your comment, everyone is a great fan of farro here in Italy too, there are so many things to do with it. I’ll definitely try some recipe with quinoa soon!
      Your pictures are great, congrats!
      wish you a good night too

      • Well, thank you for the kind words, Teresa. Yes, do give quinoa a try. It is actually a seed and incredibly healthy and versatile. You will love it. My favorite variety is the red kind. When you prepare quinoa, the ratio is different than most grains… more like 1:1.5 quinoa to water, as opposed to the traditional 1:2. With quinoa, never lift the lid during the cook time, either. It is a tricky grain, but delicious when mastered. Take good care! Warmly, Shanna

  4. Good post, with great photos. We love farro too and have been slowly cooking our way through the various options available to us in the US, i.e. pearled, semi-pearled, unpearled–all applied to different types of farro (einkorn, emmer, spelt). So far, I’d have to say all of them are delicious, although some require more cooking than others. Ken

      • “Popular” may be a bit of an exaggeration. Among serious cooks who love Italian food it’s known, but among everyone else, hardly at all. And most of what you see in the US is imported from Italy. Ken

  5. Love this recipe!! I had Faro the other day in a restaurant and wanted to try to buy it, but couldn’t 😦 Must go search it again. Thanks for sharing and also following my blog so I could discover yours – really love it! 😉

  6. Pingback: Artusi’s cuisine | The Gourmand Traveller

  7. Love it! Will try the recipe – I love farro and since it is higher in protein then the pastas it makes for a terrific substitute. Love that you picked the herbs from the garden….that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

  8. I’ve never tried farro but this is the second blog I’ve seen with it this week. It must be gaining in popularity around the world. As for getting bikini ready, I bought a 1 piece bathing suit a few years ago. I have never looked back!

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