Make Italian Farro with Cauliflower for a nutritious alternative to pasta! You'll love this comforting, warm farro recipe that's cooked in one pot.
Have you heard of farro? It's an ancient wheat grain that originated in Mesopotamia and became a staple in Ancient Rome.
Pronounced "FAHR roh" in Italian, this healthy grain has a slightly nutty taste and a chewy texture. It cooks up al dente and stays that way for days.
It's a miracle, I tell you! No wonder it's our favorite pasta substitute.
This Italian Farro with Cauliflower is comforting and delicious. It's similar to Parmesan Risotto, but only requires occasional stirring and is less creamy. It cooks in one pot and will fill your home with the most enticing aroma.
And, it's easy! You'll simply throw the ingredients in the pot and fahgeddabouttit for 35 minutes, except for the occasional stir.
Farro: Farro comes in three types ― whole-grain, semi-pearled or pearled, referring to how much of the bran is kept or removed. You can use semi-pearled farro (affiliate link) or pearled farro (affiliate link) for this recipe. Whole-grain farro requires overnight soaking.
If you have a choice, go with semi-pearled, which is more nutritious than pearled.
And if you need a farro substitute, try barley.
Cauliflower: I love the convenience of using frozen cauliflower florets with this Italian farro, but feel free to use fresh ones. I haven't tried this with cauliflower rice, but it would probably work.
Stock: You have a few options. For a vegetarian or vegan meal, use vegetarian stock, as pictured here. Otherwise, chicken stock would be delicious. And, for a more economical version, simply use water.
Tomato Paste: I like using some tomato paste to amplify the tomato flavor, but feel free to cut up a fresh tomato here instead.
Onion: Use white, yellow or red onions. You'll need two small ones or half of a large onion.
Basil: Fresh basil leaves add delicious flavor and a pop of color for garnish. Try not to skip them!
Parmesan: It's not pictured here, because it's optional, but you can't go wrong with stirring in some freshly grated Parmesan. For a vegan farro dish, omit the cheese.
How to cook farro with cauliflower
See the card at the end of this post for the full recipe, but here's an overview.
- Add the stock, dry farro and cauliflower to a large pot and let the farro soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Slice onions and garlic and add them to the pot.
- Stir in tomato paste, olive oil and seasonings.
- Bring to a boil, then gently simmer uncovered for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If using pearled farro, check for doneness after 25 minutes. If it's not chewy, it still needs more time to cook. It may have absorbed all of the liquid, so add up to two cups of hot water to the pot and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
- If using semi-pearled farro, it should be done after 35 minutes. I've never had to add more liquid to the pot when using semi-pearled, but if it seems dry to you at the 25-minute mark, add 1 or 2 cups of hot water as needed.
- If you open a new can of tomato paste for this recipe and need to store what's left over, you can wrap up two tablespoons of paste at a time in plastic wrap. Then, then freeze those packets inside a zip-top freezer bag. You don't have to thaw the paste before using it in recipes, since the heat will melt it during cooking.
How to serve Italian farro
For a main dish, ladle the Italian Farro with Cauliflower into pasta bowls and drizzle on extra olive oil. Top with basil and additional Parmesan, if desired. Dig in with a spoon!
Frequently asked questions
Farro contains antioxidants that may prevent diseases and is highly nutritious, according to Healthline. It's a great source of fiber, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B3.
The protein keeps you full longer and the fiber aids in digestion, so farro can help people maintain a healthy weight, according to WebMD.
Whole-grain farro is the most nutritious because it contains the whole bran. Semi-pearled farro includes part of the bran, while pearled farro doesn't include any bran. It's difficult to find whole-grain farro in stores, so semi-pearled is the next-best option, nutritionally.
No, farro is relatively high in carbohydrates. It's a wheat grain, so it's not gluten-free or keto-friendly.
More recipes like this
- Baked Vegetable Risotto with Asparagus & Spinach
- Pasta and Zucchini
- Broccoli Pasta
- Pasta e Piselli
- Authentic Pasta e Fagioli
If you try this Italian Farro with Cauliflower recipe, please leave a comment and a rating!
Italian Farro with Cauliflower
- 1 quart vegetable stock (or chicken stock, or water)
- 1 pound semi-pearled or pearled farro (see notes)
- 1 pound frozen cauliflower (or cut up fresh cauliflower)
- 2 small onions (or half of a large onion)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to drizzle on each serving)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (Or more to taste. Use ¾ teaspoon if using water instead of stock.)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups hot water (only if needed)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan (Optional. If omitting the cheese, add extra salt.)
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- Add the stock, farro, and cauliflower to a large pasta pot off the heat. Let the farro soak while you prepare the onions and garlic.
- Peel the onions, cut them in half, then slice them up and add them to the pot. Peel the garlic, cut off the root ends, and slice the garlic thinly. Add the garlic to the pot.
- Stir in the tomato paste, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover the pot and put the heat on high until the stock comes to a boil. When it is boiling, remove the cover, lower the heat until the pot is simmering gently. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Stir the pot occasionally to prevent sticking.
- After 25 minutes, see if the farro needs more liquid added. (See notes. If the liquid has absorbed, add 1-2 cups of hot water as needed.) Simmer the farro for another 10 minutes, or until al dente and chewy. Turn off the heat. Do not drain any excess liquid.
- Stir in ⅓ cup of Parmesan, if using. Taste to see if additional salt is needed. (It will depend on the stock you used.)
- Serve the Italian farro with extra olive oil drizzled on top. Add ribbons of basil (roll the basil leaves the long way and snip them into pieces with scissors.) Serve with Parmesan on the side, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze them.
(Recipe Source: Inspired by Smitten Kitchen and my family's one-pot pasta dishes. Originally posted on May 7, 2015 and updated now with new photos and additional information.)