Farro was one of the very first cultivated crops in ancient farming communities. Domesticated some 12,000 years ago, farro kernels have even been found in Egyptian tombs. Farro (pronounced FAHR-oh) was a primary source of food during the height of the Roman Empire and is still popular in Italy today. Farro is an ancient relative of modern wheat, though very low in gluten. Farro found in the local supermarkets is of the semi-pearled variety meaning it retains some, but not all of its bran and nutrients. It’s hearty, chewy with a texture similar to barley and it has a rich nutty flavor. Unlike barley and other whole grains, the semi-pearled farro is quick cooking and therefore great for weeknight meals. Though it can sometimes be hard to find, I have recently spotted it at Martins grocery store, in Stephens City, Virginia. You can probably find it at any local health food store or maybe even Costco in Winchester, Virginia. You can also certainly find it online.
I’ve made all sorts of farro salads but this one is my recent favorite.
Farro, Red Cabbage and Apple Salad
1 cup Farro
2 cups chopped red cabbage (about ¼ wedge)
1 cup chopped onion (about ½ an onion and peeled)
¼ cup chopped parsley
1-1/2 cups chopped apple (about 1 large that’s been peeled and seeded)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Place cabbage, parsley, onion and apple in a large mixing bowl. add the vinegar, syrup, mustard, pepper and ½ the salt to a glass measure. Slowly whisk in the oil till emulsified.
Rinse farro then place in a pot. Cover with water. Place over medium high heat. Cook till just tender and drain (about 15-20 minutes). Add farro to the cabbage mixture then pour in the dressing and combine. Add in the remaining salt and taste for additional seasoning.
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Tammy Batcha is a life-long resident of the Shenandoah Valley. A long-time commuter, she seeks to reconnect to her community. A board certified, health and wellness coach, she continues to study integrative nutritional theory while guiding others on a path to wellness.