Saturday, March 9, 2013

Farro Salad with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Onion

This is the first time I've cooked with Farro and I'm so happy I did. Trader Joe's had a display with 10-minute cooking grains and Farro was one of the grains. I'm definitely going to keep this as a main staple in my pantry and use it for soups and other salads.

Farro Salad with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onion
(Bobby Flay)

**I roasted the eggplant and onion vs. grilled.  I sliced, brushed with oil and baked in 300 to 350 degree oven until browned.


What Is the Nutritional Value of Farro?

Farro is a whole grain that is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates. Additionally, farro has twice the fiber and protein than modern wheat. Different than some other whole grains, a carbohydrate in farro called cyanogenic glucosides has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it more easily digested. Below are more detailed facts regarding farro’s nutritional value:
Per ½ cup raw farro:
  • 170 calories
  • 1.5 g of fat
  • 0 g saturated fat
  • 0 mg of sodium
  • 34 g of carbohydrates
  • 5 g of dietary fiber
  • 2 mg of iron
  • 6 g of protein
  • 4 mg of niacin
  • 60 mg of magnesium
  • 2 mg zinc
In addition to minerals and vitamins, farro is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, lignans and betaine.  Betaine, when combined with choline, has been shown to prevent or reduce stress-included inflammation, which can be beneficial for individuals suffering from certainmedical conditions.

How Can You Cook Farro?

To consume farro, you must first soak the grain. Farro has a chewy, firm texture.  Simply boil the grain in a 2:1 ratio of water to farro. Simmer covered for 25 to 35 minutes. Drain any unabsorbed liquid.
In Italy, the most common way to eat farro is by adding it to soup. Farro can be served al dente in salads for a nutty texture.  Farro can also be used to make pasta and bread. Additionally, Farro can be interchanged in recipes calling for barley, spelt and quinoa.

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