Farro is one of the ancient grains making a big comeback today, and with good reason, as it brings flair, flavor and whole-grain nutrition to the table in an easy, accessible way. It is a type of wheat that resembles grains of barley, but with a nuttier flavor and delightful chewiness. It’s perfect for today’s home cook, because it is simple to prepare — you basically boil it like rice — and it is ready in about 30 minutes. No soaking necessary.
According to the Whole Grains Council, farro was one of the first domesticated grains and a staple for the Roman legions, but it eventually was abandoned in favor of wheat varieties that were easier to hull. Now it is a regular on fashionable restaurant menus, and you can find it in large grocery stores.
I often serve farro warm in a pilaf or as a bed for a Mediterranean-style stew. But I enjoy it most chilled, as the center point of a salad where its nutty toothsomeness is matched with bold flavors and textures, as it is here with a classic Greek combo of crunchy walnuts, salty feta cheese, aromatic fresh herbs and handfuls of hearty greens. It’s the kind of salad that holds up well in the refrigerator for a few days, so it is perfect to pack and take to work as a main course for lunch or to have on hand as a dinner side dish with simply grilled meat.
Got questions? Krieger will join Wednesday’s Free Range chat: live.washingtonpost.com . Her most recent cookbook is “Weeknight Wonders: Delicious Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.
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