Farro can be used in many recipes. You can also serve it on its own as a snack. When used as an ingredient, it will add a kick to whatever dish you’re preparing.
If you run out of farro in your pantry, don’t fret. There are many substitutes that you can use in its stead. This way, you won’t compromise the flavor or health benefits you can get from your dish – even without farro.
These farro alternatives include the following:
- White Rice
- Brown Rice
- Oat Groats
- Winter Wheat
17 Best Substitute For Farro
Considering that farro is an ancient grain, it is not surprising that it has again started to gain in popularity in recent years. While farro can be found in most grocery store spice aisles today, there may be instances when stocks aren’t available.
Now, let’s discuss each of the 17 farro alternatives in detail. This way, you can determine the best alternative to use in lieu of farro, depending on the availability, of course!
Perhaps the most suitable farro substitute is barley. This is because barley shares a similar nutty flavor and chewy texture with farro, and it is just as nutritious.
Both farro and barley are rich sources of magnesium and fiber. However, you can more easily find barley as it is a lot more common. And because the two ingredients share almost the same taste and texture, you can easily replace one for the other in recipes.
Farro is a versatile and distinct-tasting wheat grain with significant health benefits. It is considered an ancient wheat grain that traces its roots in Mesopotamia.
When using barley as a substitute in your soup recipe, separately cook the barley, and add only at the end of cooking to make the soup thinner. A cup of dry barley yields 3 ½ cups of cooked barley, while 1 dry farro cup yields 3 cups when cooked.
Another easier to find and equally nutritious alternative to farro is quinoa. While it comes with a similar taste to farro, its texture is closer to rice.
Quinoa can be an ideal farro substitute in soups, salads, breakfast bowls, and burgers, among others. It has no gluten content and offers almost the same protein levels as farro.
Quinoa is likewise a rich source of fiber, as well as essential amino acids. This makes quinoa one of the healthiest alternatives to farro in recipes.
A rice variety that has no more bran and germ, white rice only has the endosperm remaining. It then undergoes further processing to improve the flavor, prolong the shelf life, and enhance its processing properties.
Its generous amount of mineral folate content is particularly helpful for lactating and pregnant women. The compound is known to reduce the risk of developing congenital disabilities in babies, including birth defects, low birth weight, still birth, and premature birth.
White rice has less fiber compared to farro, which makes it an ideal farro substitute for people suffering from diarrhea, diverticulitis, or people who have just gone through surgery, and need to follow a low-fiber diet.
One healthy and gluten-free replacement for farro is brown rice, another type of rice. While its texture is different from farro, it can still be a decent replacement.
Like farro, brown rice is a rich source of fiber. You can substitute farro with brown rice when preparing side dishes or snacks.
You can use oat groats to substitute for farro in cooking. Oat groats are kernels, which means they have no more husk. They share a similar taste, nutrition, and texture with farro.
Like farro, oat groats are also a generous source of calcium, antioxidants, and fiber. In addition, they are gluten-free. The flavor profile is similar to that of farro, but old groats tend to be a bit sweeter.
When using oat groats as a farro substitute, you can follow the 1:1 substitution ratio. But if the slightly sweeter taste is an issue for you, you can lessen the amount of oat groats to add to achieve the desired taste.
Contrary to what its name may suggest, traditionally, farmers sow winter wheat during fall. They then harvest the wheat grain in the spring.
So, where does the winter in its name come into the picture? Well, winter wheat requires extreme cold temperatures to thrive and grow – that’s it, during the winter months!
You can use winter wheat as an able substitute to farro, considering that farro itself is a kind of wheat grain. Plus, winter wheat is more widely available than farro.
While the two may differ in terms of texture, the flavor profiles are similar. Farro is a bit denser than winter wheat. Because of this, you must soak and cook winter wheat for a longer time than usual to achieve a similar texture.
One other gluten-free and nutritious farro alternative is teff. It is a rich source of calcium and magnesium.
Teff is the ideal farro substitute for people who are allergic to farro. While farro is not typically used in baking, teff can be used in making cereal, bread, and pancakes, among others.
A kind of porridge cooked from grains, Kasha is a traditional dish from Russia. It’s most noteworthy property is that the protein content of the nuts can replace the protein you can get from the meat.
Kasha has properties and texture similar to farro, but unlike farro that contains gluten, kasha is gluten-free. Kasha is a good substitute for farro because of its myriads of health benefits.
Because of the rich amount of soluble fiber it contains, the seed is also known to help prevent bad cholesterol and promote good cholesterol in the body. It contributes a lot in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
When substituting for farro, make sure to add just enough water to prevent the kasha from becoming mushy, and cause it to lose its texture.
Typically made from wheat, bulgur is also a good substitute for farro. It has a similar nutty taste and chewy texture to farro, and the similarities make one a good replacement for the other in recipes.
Probably the only drawback is that bulgur contains a lot more calories compared to farro. It is likewise not as nutritious.
However, if these are not issues for you, and you immediately need to come up with a farro substitute, then bulgur can be a good option.
Made from wheat kernels, wheat berries offer a good alternative to farro. For one, both are wheat grain types.
Also, both have a nutty taste and chewy texture, and are equally good sources of fiber and protein. Wheat berries can ably replace farro in soup and salad recipes, as well as a side dish.
You get rye berries by removing the rye grain hulls. They are extremely versatile, and you can use them as a farro alternative in various recipes.
Rye berries are a generous source of magnesium and fiber. You can use the farro alternative in bread, salad, and soup recipes.
Removing the hulls of unripe durum wheat will give you freekeh. Just like farro, freekeh has a nutty flavor and chewy texture.
Frekeh is a rich source of protein. It can be a good replacement for farro in various dishes like soups, salads, and stews.
Triticate berries are produced by crossing wheat and rye. They also possess farro’s nutty wheat flavor.
The texture of triticate berries are somewhat rough, and need to be soaked enough until they become soft enough to chew and eat.
One good thing about triticate berries is that they contain more fiber than both wheat and rye.
Like farro, kamut is also considered as an ancient grain. It also shares a lot of qualities with farro.
For one, kamut and farro both have a nutty flavor, and are rich sources of antioxidants and protein. But, because kamut comes with a texture that is rougher than farro, you need to soak it first in water before using it as a substitute.
An ancient grain from the Poaceae grass family, sorghum is small and round, and typically has a yellow or white color. Some varieties, however, may have a brown, red, purple, or black color.
You can prepare sorghum similar to other types of rice-based products. It is good-tasting either popped in whole form (similar to popcorn) or ground into powder.
A lot of food manufacturers convert sorghum into flour or syrup, and use it as a sweetener for various processed food products.
Sorghum is packed whit lots of nutrients that include B vitamins that play a vital role in nerve development, metabolism, and hair and skin health.
It also contains generous amounts of magnesium, an essential mineral for heart health, bone formation, and many of the body’s biochemical reactions including protein metabolism and energy production.
Extracting kernels from hulled wheat or spelt grains will produce spelt berries. They offer a good alternative to farro because of its similar flavor profile to farro. Spelled berries are also rich sources of fiber and protein.
However, spelt berries are harder than farro. Thus, they are not ideal to use for soup dishes, and with fruits and eggs, unlike farro. The harder texture instead makes spelt berries an ideal substitute for farro in salad or breakfast bowl recipes.
Other Types of Farro
Farro has several types, the most commonly used of which is the dried type. It is also the kind of farro usually mentioned in this post.
Other farro types include semi-pearled farro, pearled farro, spelt farro, and whole farro. Now, if you run out dried farro, but you have any of the other types of farro instead, there’s nothing to worry about.
Any other type of farro can be an easy replacement for the dried farro variety. They all possess almost the same chewy texture and nutty flavor.