Farro pilaf with cherries and pecans

By Wendy Andresen | Aug 14, 2019
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

Farro is a type of ancient wheat grain that has been eaten around the world for thousands of years. It is currently becoming a gourmet specialty and is making its way onto upscale restaurant menus as people discover it not only tastes great, but also has many health benefits. Because it is an excellent source of protein, fiber and nutrients like magnesium and iron, it’s a big step up from white rice or other refined grains.

Farro provides just about the same amount of protein as most legumes or beans and can form a complete source of protein when paired with other plant foods, like vegetables. This is one reason people use it similarly to legumes, beans, peas or lentils. So if you’re looking for an alternative to the unhealthy refined grains common in today’s diet and you want to mix things up beyond quinoa and other healthier grains, farro is a perfect addition to salads, stews, soups and more.

Try this quick and easy recipe right now while fresh cherries are still in season. We enjoyed a few whole roasted carrots and a handful of arugula as a colorful addition to the plate.


1 cup farro

2 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or other nuts)

1 Tbsp. nondairy butter, such as Earth Balance

8 ounces cherries (about 24), pitted and halved

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/8 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the farro, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the farro rest for 15 minutes while following the next steps.

2. In a dry sauté pan, lightly toast the pecans for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Transfer them to a separate bowl after toasting.

3. In the same sauté pan (no need to clean it first), melt the butter on medium-high heat, add the cherries, and cook for 1 minute. Add the five-spice powder and balsamic and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer the cherries to a separate bowl.

4. When the farro has cooked and rested, stir in the pecans, cherries, thyme and several grinds of black pepper. Add more salt if desired. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

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