Farro & Herbs

Farro & Herbs Recipe

I had a good amount of mozzarella in my refrigerator this week. We grilled pizzas on Memorial Day, and didn't end up using it all. So, I thought I'd share a farro recipe I threw together later in the week. It's made with farro, bocconcini, a bit of homemade creme fraiche, and herbs from last weeks farmers' market - the ones that nearly escaped by hiding behind a row of condiments in the refrigerator. Do you use farro much? I can't get enough of it. I love it's chewy nuttiness and the way it goes with just about everything...I also thought I'd share a couple photos I took on a walk in Golden Gate Park - the last of the plum and cherry blossoms.

Farro & Herbs Recipe

As far as today's recipe goes, this is the sort of thing you can make in no time if you have cooked grains (in this case farro) on hand. I've mentioned it before, but I usually keep some sort of rice, farro, etc. cooked, then frozen, so I can just pop it in a skillet or saucepan whenever I want something like this. But now that I'm looking at the recipe again, you could even crack open a couple of cans of chickpeas and use those in place of the farro here. Either way, it can be a side dish, or you can think of it as more of a main dish - for the latter, I might cook up an egg to top things off.

Farro & Herbs Recipe

I just used what I had at hand here, but I can imagine some peppery arugula, or blanched asparagus, or broccolini being great additions. Or, some oven-roasted tomatoes and red pepper flakes thrown in once we get into tomato season.

Farro & Herbs Recipe

On a separate note, I picked up a few new cookbooks yesterday at Omnivore Books. If you live in the Bay Area and love to cook, it is one of those places you should visit. Celia stocks lots of International titles - British, Australian, Spanish - the good ones that are hard to find unless you're traveling abroad. So, I'm excited to try some recipes from those, and hopefully I'll have some recipes to highlight soon. -h

Farro & Herbs Recipe

If you don't have farro, you can certainly substitute cooked wheat berries, or (pearled) barley here. Also, if you don't have creme fraiche, feel free to substitute a mixture of equal parts sour cream and cream.

2 cups / 13 oz / 370 g uncooked semi-pearled farro
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
5 cups water

1/3 cup creme fraiche (see head note)
2 teaspoons freshly squeeze lemon juice (plus zest)
2 teaspoons good-quality white wine vinegar

2 bunches / 1 oz fresh chives, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
scant teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

more salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 oz / 170g (good) mozzarella or bocconcini, cut or torn into chunks

Place the uncooked farro in a saucepan along with the salt and water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat a bit, then simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the grains are cooked through, but not mushy. You can certainly use whole farro here if you like, you'll just need to cook it longer, more like 50 minutes. You'll likely have some extra liquid in the farro pot, drain the farro, but reserve the cooking liquid. In the end, you'll have about 4 cups of cooked farro. Let it cool a bit, but keep in mind, this is a dish you can serve warm or at room temperature.

In a large bowl combine the cooked farro with the creme fraiche. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the (still warm) reserved cooking liquid to thin things out a bit, then stir in the lemon juice, zest, and vinegar. Stir in the herbs and mix well. Taste and salt and pepper to your liking at this point. Lastly add the mozzarella and gently toss one last time before serving warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 30 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Thanks for the tip about crème fraîche. I happen to love it but never find it at the supermarket. I knew it could be substitutued by sour cream but I think the mix of sour cream and cream will be more like it. Thanks for a wonderful farro recipe!

Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams

I just had farro for the first time a few weeks ago. We had it with fava beans, asparagus, morel mushrooms, herbs and a bit of parmesan cheese. Love the mozzarell addition!!! Thanks for the book store tip - will have to check it out.

Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing this recipe! It looks great!!!

Annie D. @ Annie's Simple Life

I love farro! I'd like to hear more about how you freeze it. I tend to freeze a lot of things since I live alone, but I've never had good luck freezing grains - the texture always seems off.

HS: With farro, I cook it, then let it cool to room temp. before double bagging it, squeezing any air out, then freeze. Works well for wild rice too, wheat berries, and a number of others. Quinoa seems to be the trickiest for me.


Thanks for the recommended substitution, I was thinking of making this dish wish wheat berries. I looks so comforting with the addition of tangy creme fraiche and fresh mozzarella.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

Meg, you should check out Whole Grains Every Day Every Way by Lorna Sass, she explains the best way to cook every grain and how to do things like freeze them.

Heidi, the link to Omnivore Books does not work properly - just fyi :)

This looks yummy. There are not enough farro recipes. And this is so versatile - you can literally change whatever you want and it will still be good!!!

HS: Thanks for the heads up Monica, it should be fixed now.


If I was to die and come back as a recipe, I would want to be this one!

Can't wait to try:)

the French

Great idea. I will be looking for farro again now that I have recently moved. One day I will live somewhere that sells it! :)

This kind of dish is my usual weeknight dinner: grains and vegetables mixed, with some kind of protein on top. Easy, delicious, and so healthy. Thanks for the continued great ideas.


I love that bowl! Imagine it was a special find, no? As in, I can't find one near me.

the French

Love the egg idea!! Yum! Thanks for a great recipe!

Erin Blogavich

I've never had farro before! This looks great!


I make a good Farro salad that has sauteed swiss chard and chopped green olives with a lemon vinaigrette. It's one of my favorite lunches. Thanks for sharing your version--looks delicious!


This would be great as a risotto, with the mozzarella balls folded in just at the end so that they melt slightly. Replace the wine vinegar with white wine and some stock while cooking and simply add in Parmasean at the end. Your concept as a cold salad is perfect this time of year, though.

molly @ mollys menu

I really want to make this, but I can't find Farro anywhere.

A Teenage Gourmet

I really want to make this, but I can't find Farro anywhere.

A Teenage Gourmet

This looks like one of those great basic recipes that you can memorize and throw together with whatever you have in the fridge. A perfect no-fuss meal!


would it still be 5 cups of water if you replace the farro with chickpeas or wheat berries?

No, not if you're using canned beans - just drain them, rinse them, spin dry them in a salad dryer, and use them as you would the cooked farro.


I like your recommendation for having grains at-the-ready. It will be particularly nice for impromptu summer salads.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

I've never heard of farro before, but will give it a try. Thanks!

a slow cooker

Hi Heidi

I've been on a farro kick for a few months now too–just love it. Have found a difference in product quality though. Whole Foods sells a product in their bulk section that is good $3.99 per pound), but not nearly as chewy and flavorful as what I've found at the Pasta Shop in Rockridge. Unfortunately there's is close to $9 per pound, though on sale this week for around $5, so just bought some. What brand do you use, or where are you finding it?

HS: HI Romney, I'm blanking on the brand at the moment, I usually buy XL bags at Rainbow (a couple pounds?). The Massa wheat berries are certainly an alternative - organic, local, and just a couple dollars a pound last time I bought them. I've seen those at both the SF Ferry Building Farmers Mkt, and Marin (Sunday) market.

Romney Steele

I use farro a lot for breads, and the whole grain also for salads, burgers including vegetables and I love to eat it for breakfast . I was just confused a little bit about the name. In Italy they use the word farro for the whole grain as well as for the flour. But in English it seems that the grains are named farro and the flour spelt. Correct?


I've discovered a taste for wheatberries, and am sure I would like farro as well. This recipe sounds like a great way to find out!


Mozzarella and farro... great combination with all those fresh herbs!

my little expat kitchen

oh what a great dish!

Simply Life

You said that you used homemade creme fraiche for this recipe. How do you make your own?


Farro has been on my list of grains to try sometime soon--great recipe!


This is my favorite kind of meal - and yes I use farro because you introduced me to it last year. It's wonderful but expensive, so usually I go for spelt instead.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

We made something reminiscent last week, with barley couscous and heaps of blanched spring veg -- asparagus, peas, garbanzos. But it was the lemony-creamy dressing and piles of bright herbs that pulled it all together, made it sing. Love farro, but tend to neglect it in summer. This will be a fine way to pull it through the seasons.


Heidi, as always your recipes and photgraphs look amazing. (just thought i would point out a slight typo- i assume the mozzarella should be torn instead of town)


Farro and barley are two things I need to try - I like your description of farro as chewy - I might like it then!


When I first saw the top pic, I thought those were whole garlic cloves studding the mix! I'd LOVE that, hehe.

I still need to try farro. Does anyone know if it can be sprouted?

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

Anxious to try this! I LOVE farro but it's difficult for me to find locally. I spotted some at my local Fresh Market the other day & snatched up 2 vacuum sealed bags - so excited to have my mitts on some :)

glad to hear farro freezes well too - Yay


Hi, I have been following your blog for a couple of months, but have never commented. So, I just wanted to take a quick moment and say hello. I left the corporate world a few years ago, to stay home with my children. My first goal was to learn to cook (and entertain), really well. I have spent the last three years purchasing cookbooks and really studying food- through these books, magazines, food shows, websites, etc...and of course experimenting with LOTS of recipes. This year, my goal is to take all of what I have learned and develop the confidence to adapt recipes, to create new ones, and to manage my timing, so that cooking remains a passion, and not a chore...and not something that will take so much time that I will not get to enjoy time with my family in the afternoons/evenings. Needless to say, your blog is 'coming to me' at the PERFECT time in my life. Your writing is articulate, precise, unpretentious, and also laid-back, and inspiring. Your combination of your own process in a meal (inspiration all the way to completion) and additional suggestions/ideas are extremely helpful and appreciated. I look forward to trying your recipes!

Torrie @ a place to share...

I use farro all the time. It's a really wonderful but overlooked grain. It doesn't get mushy like rice can. We make this farro salad with roasted veggies a lot: http://tinyurl.com/27vrvek

The Italian Dish

Heidi, thanks so much for turning me onto Farro.... I love it, and have started buying noodles made of farro as well. Great flavor!


Perfect! Now I have something to make for dinner. I have every one of the ingredients on hand. Thanks Heidi!

Cindy S.

Hi, could you use Israeli Couscous, instead of Farro?


You're the reason I eat so much farro now, Heidi! I think it was your Farro Salad w/Citrus Parmesan Dressing that got me hooked (there was a video w/that post, too). Now I cook with it on my site all the time!

I'll definitely be trying this recipe... I'm also drowning in excess farmer's market herbs, so this will be a great way to use them! :)

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

I am definitely trying this out! And yes, grains at the ready=excellent idea.


Heidi Thank you! This farro dish looks wonderful. All the bounty in the farmers market at the moment has me salivating. This dish will be another fun way to celebrate all the fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables in the markets currently! I may also try this dish with quinoa.

Noelle @greenlemonade.com

Thans for the new recipe, Heidi. We just got back from Tuscany yesterday. Farro is fairly common there and readily available--most of it is grown in nearby Umbria. While we were there, I cooked two dishes with it, farro salad and farro risotto, both were great. The last two years we've brought 1-kilo bags of farro home from Italy, sneaking them through Customs. Recently I found good Italian farro at Costco at about $8.00 for a big bag, it's excellent quality.

Bob Blesse

For those unable to find farro locally, you can order it from bluebirdgrainfarms.com. I usually order a five pound bag, but you can also buy it by the pound from them.


Te recipe sounds excellent,but we have no créme fraiche in Turkey how can İ make it at home,please?

semra kulin

سلام هیدی....
من عاشق اشپزی ام..ولی زبان انگلیسی بلد نیستم که از دستورات اشپزی تو استفاده کنم....


I must say again that I enjoy your work and look forward to it. Please don't respond just create more and send it out.

Maurice J Mollan

What is farro? Never heard of it before, is there a more commonly available suitable substitute?

Heather L in Australia

Recently, I found something called Freekeh--a farro cousin--at our green market, and have been saving it for the right summer recipe. I think this is it!


Hi Heidi,
I worked with what we had in the house and tried this today for lunch with pearled barley instead of the farro and crumbled fresh goat cheese instead of the mozzarella. It was slightly creamier than it would have been with the farro (which worked well with the creme fraiche) and I liked the tang of the goat cheese. I love goat cheese with fresh herbs.
Trader Joe's used to have the cute Perlini (tiny tiny) fresh mozzarella balls which were discontinued. Those would have been perfect here.

Deana @ Cooking with Trader Joe's

A friend introduced me to spelt (which I think is the same as farro). Available here in Montreal at health food stores. I keep cooked spelt in the frig and make salads using chopped apple, halved grapes, onion and sweet yellow peppers with a vinegar, oil, and smoky paprika dressing. Keeps fresh for days. Will freeze the cooked grain for my husband when I go away for a few days. Thank you for all the delicious and creative recipes.


This was delicious. I made some changes according to what I had on hand: plain yogurt instead of creme, barley instead of farro, dried dill and thyme instead of fresh. Delicious!


beautiful photo's heidi,I could see them printed onto canvas and hanging on my wall ;-) xx


Now I know Farro. As always your post looks and sounds interesting :)

The Artist Chef (Joanie)

I love how I learn about new ingredients and healthier ways of eating here. Although I can't always implement it because of unavailability, I thank you for all the information.


I am still looking for the word for farro in Bulgarian, but I am sure I can find it in the capital. What a lovely late spring, summer dish.

Casey Angelova

Perfect! I needed to make a grainy something tonight and this is a timely inspiration! I think I'll use some of the local brown rice I just found recently. I can't believe there are still blossoms on the coast! Here in the Valley we've already gotten a little crusty around the edges and the fruits are prominent, if still green.

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

Heidi - I couldn't leave a comment on your book post, but wanted to say the cover is really beautiful and looking forward to reading more about the book! Thank you for the lovely recipe as always - I love farro and this looks/sounds perfect for summer lunch, hopefully we'll have nice weather here soon! x

HS: Thanks Keiko - great to hear from you, hope all is well.


The Pasta Shop in Rockridge used to make a dish very similar to this. It was always my favorite treat. I can't wait to try this! They would add cherry tomatoes, but I especially liked the fresh mozzarella. Thank you for posting this!


Hi Heidi, this recipe looks delicious! I have a question though, about the bocconcini. You have either that or mozzarella for this dish, but I was wondering if you thought one one went better with it than the other. Also, where would you find the bocconcini? Thanks so much!


I love your recipes and check here often for new ideas. I was given some garlic scapes last weekend at the Portland farmers market and have totally fallen for them! I wonder what your take is on them and if you have any recipes ( I browsed, but found none) for my new found friend.

HS: Hi Cori - one of my favorite soups in Super Natural Cooking is a garlic scape soup. I somehow missed them this year at the market though :/....


I love farro, and this recipe looks perfectly summery and delicious. I'm inspired. Thanks!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

Exquisito plato!!!!
Un abrazo desde Chile
La brujita


Looks delicious!



The recipe looks great but I may be more excited about the bookstore recommendation! I keep ordering books from the UK . . . A day trip to the city sounds much better!


I love farro! I'll def have to give this one a try :-)


I love this idea, Heidi! I'd never heard of bocconcini until now, even though I love mozzarella, other cheeses and Italian cuisine. I'm always reluctant to branch out into other grains, though. I regularly eat rice and quinoa, and I tend to fall back on those instead of exploring farro, bulgur and barley. Maybe this will be my first farro experiment?


I love farro! And this look lovely, especially with that creme fraiche. It would be a perfect take to work lunch. Yum!


I just made this tonight and it was awesome! I used herbed goat cheese instead of the mozz and added green onion and it turned out great!


I have never tried farro, thanks for introducing me to a new grain! I am going to check out that book mentioned in an earlier comment too.


I have tried Farro but never with cheese so I have try it out. Love your pictures and look of the site!


Am hooked on the farro e fave salad at AGFerrari. They sell wonderful Italian farro (expensive but obviously authentic) which I have used in a farro & bean soup. Looking forward to trying this recipe with so many fresh herbs.


Guess who had this for his last lunch ever in high school today? I shared it with my friends and we all loved it! Was craving more of it right after I had shared some, but I'll make more this weekend! Great post, Heidi! :)

HS: Glad you liked it Kamran! And big congrats to you :)

kamran siddiqi

well.....i've not tasted it but it sure looks great. yeah

Agatha Marianne

What a gorgeous looking recipe! I discovered faro at a fine food market a couple of years ago, and tried it even though the vendor didn't know what it was! I do love its nutty taste.


I made this last night with barley and the addition of sundried tomatoes (and about double the amount of lemon juice and vinegar). I couldn't find farro, but I did see spelt berries. Is it true that these are one in the same?

Anne Marie

I just had lunch with a fellow personal chef who surprised me with your new cookbook. I can't wait to start working my way through the recipes which look amazing, but I HAD to tell you how stunning the photography and layout are first. It makes you want to dive straight in. Wow! Congrats.

Julie Anne Rhodes

The grains look so yummy and the thought of chewy and nutty grains with cheese and herbs--perfect! I have never eaten Farro--someone commented it was Spelt--which I have bought bread made with it but not eaten the grains on their own--are they one in the same? Also, I am somewhat restricted to eating sprouted grains--and roasted brown rice as far as grains are concerned--any tips on how I can do this using farro? Thanks for the lovely recipes and beautiful pictures!


I don't think I've ever had farro, but I'll be on the lookout for it now. Thanks for posting!


I love farro, but haven't had it in a long time. Now I'm totally craving it and see a trip to Whole Food's in my weekend plans :)


I am having this for lunch right now and it's delicious! I made it with barley as my local Whole Foods didn't have farro (although I swear it was there last week! I'll keep looking.). I also topped it with yellow and red cherry tomatoes. Yum! This is a keeper. Thank you!


I have been eating off of this recipe all week. I put in broccoli rabe and a dash of hot pepper flakes, some spicy chicken sausage and of course Farro. I always cook my grains in vegetable broth. This is outstanding. After I ran out of fresh mozzarella, just a sprinkle of grated parmesan did the trick.

MORE FARRO recipes please!

Melody Trivisone

I have never eat this type of dishs.But it is looking delicious.


I had tried cooking farro in a stew in my slow cooker and it congealed into an unappetizing glue like substance. I suspect it got overcooked and suffered from the barley-effect.

When I saw this recipe I thought it would be the perfect way to give it another chance. I cooked the farro in my rice cooker and it came out splendidly. No creme fraiche and no mozzarella so a quick substitution of homemade skyr and goat cheese and this salad was fantastic! Even my husband - who is normally wary of my kitchen experiments - loved it. I mean he literally picked up every grain of farro!

Thanks for such a great recipe! It's totally going to be added to our rotation.


Sorry to comment twice, but I wanted to say I made this and it was perfect! The only change I made is a chunk of frozen pesto instead of the herbs. The nuts in the pesto brought out the nuttiness of the grain. Mmm! This is one of my go-to lunches now! Thanks!


This recipe sounds great. Sure will try it. As a cheesemonger, I'd suggest instead of bocconcini which you obviously have to tear into pieces, use ciliegini (cherry sized mozzarella) or even pearlini (the smallest size mozarella), if available in your area.

Padma O'Mara

Just made this with the addition of mint (instead of dill). Utterly fantastic, and should keep well in the fridge too. I am looking forward to making this throughout the summer.

Michelle D

Hello Heidi,

I love your blog and have tried quite a few of the recipes you've posted.
Today's ( October 27/10) is great and I love that you love donkeys too; they are my favorite animal.

Question: whenever you use Farro, I am not exactly sure what you are referring to. I did a search and it seems that some people call spelt farro. I haven't seen any in our stores here in our town and wanted to ask if using whole grain spelt would be equivalent.


Nahed Squires

Hello Heidi,

I love your blog and have tried quite a few of the recipes you've posted.
Today's ( October 27/10) is great and I love that you love donkeys too; they are my favorite animal.

Question: whenever you use Farro, I am not exactly sure what you are referring to. I did a search and it seems that some people call spelt farro. I haven't seen any in our stores here in our town and wanted to ask if using whole grain spelt would be equivalent.


Nahed Squires

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