Are you down with the farro (pronounced like the King Tut Pharaoh)?

Don’t be intimidated— it’s just another ancient grain like quinoa and barley except farro grains are a little bigger and chewier. Think big, plump, oversized oats having children with brown rice and you’ve got farro.

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Why use it? Well first because it’s a change from plain old brown rice and second because let’s face it, you’re getting sick of quinoa.

It’s versatile– it can be made into a great side dish, a main component of a salad (like in this recipe) or as a base for homemade breakfast cereal. Add some cinnamon, sliced almonds, mango chunks and pour some milk over it and bam— you’ve got a homemade, cereal-ously healthy breakfast.

It’s a high protein, whole grain.

It’s just as quick as rice– yep, Trader Joe’s has a 10-minute version that takes, well… 10 minutes.

It’s packed with fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E.

spinach pesto and farro salad

Spinach-Pesto Salad with Farro

– 1 cup farro
– 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 tablespoon red onion, diced
– 2 cups spinach
– 1/8 cup fresh basil, chopped
– 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
– Cracked black pepper to taste

1. Cook the farro until al dente. Set aside and let cool. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small skillet over low heat until lightly browned and aromatic.
2. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of the spinach with the lemon juice, olive oil and almonds.
3. Combine farro, pesto from food processor, red onion and remaining spinach in a large bowl. Divide into 3-4 portions.

Want to try more great farro recipes? Check these out:

Have you ever used farro? What ancient grain are you loving lately?

About the author: Megan Poczekaj, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, FL. She owns the private practice, Nutrition Awareness, where she teaches other entrepreneurs how to maximize their productivity and performance with nutrition. She is the author of the book The Optimized Life: A Nutrition Guide for Entrepreneurs and co-host of the Nutrition Awareness Podcast.