9 Best Farro Substitutes To Try 

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Farro is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate cereal. It has a great health profile and is widely used in many parts of the United States. However, this variety of grain is not always available in every local grocery shop. Thus, this article is here to give the best farro substitutes.

farro in the sieve

Farro is an ancient whole grain that looks like oversized barley and is strong in fiber and protein. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture, and it has recently increased popularity in the United States as the best and easy-to-cook dinner alternative.

Using farro in soups, stews, pilafs, salads, and even desserts is quite common. However, if you can’t find a bag or simply want a substitute for farro, keep reading this article. We’ve gathered a list of excellent farro substitutes that will work in any recipe that asks for the original ingredient.

So, now you probably must be wondering, what can be used as an alternative for farro? The best farro substitutes are barley, quinoa, spelt, wheat, rye, freekeh, bulgur, kasha, and triticale.  

Although, I do believe that I should tell you a little more about farro before we discover the substitutes for the same. This way, you will understand the ingredient better, and it will also be easier for you to pick the substitute that works best for you.

Quick Peek: Farro 

farro grains on floor

This section is ‘Farro 101.’ You will understand how this ingredient came to be, its flavor and texture, its profile, its uses, and also all its nutritional information. So, let’s get started!

What Is Farro?

Farro is a high-protein, high-fiber ancient whole-grain wheat. It resembles barley in appearance but with a somewhat more oblong and larger grain. Farro retains a noticeable degree of chew when cooked. In most recipes, farro and barley can be used interchangeably. Farro is made from wheat and contains gluten.

Farro is seeing a rebirth in modern American kitchens. This is in contrast to modern wheat, which has undergone genetic manipulation and cross-breeding in an attempt to optimize productivity and profits.

Moreover, farro is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which is often regarded as the healthiest way of eating. Farro’s nutty flavor and chewy texture make it versatile and adaptable to various cuisines.

Describing Farro: Flavor And Texture

Farro has a nutty flavor with a cinnamon undertone and a chewy texture that is ideal for salads, soups, and sides. As with other grains, it takes on the flavor of a dressing or sauce, making it an excellent base for dishes that layer flavors. Toast the farro grains in a dry skillet until fragrant and golden before cooking them in liquid to enhance the nutty taste.

Farro’s mild earthy flavor is extremely adaptable. It goes well with practically any salad, soup, or stew. Farro is a healthy addition to vegetarian and plant-based meals that fills your stomach for a longer time and makes you more satisfied.

Uses of Farro

Farro can be prepared in the same way that other grains are. Rice is an excellent slow-cooker alternative because it doesn’t turn mushy after long cooking periods. Farro gives salads a unique flavor and can be used as an alternative to arborio rice in risotto.

Farro is an ancient grain many people haven’t heard of, but there are numerous reasons why you should try it in the kitchen. Its delicious and healthy and a great change from rice or quinoa. Serve as a side dish or add it to soups and stews like barley. Make risotto instead of rice, or make a hearty breakfast cereal with it and nondairy milk. 

Farro can be prepared in the same way as any other grain. Instead of rice or quinoa, use it to make a hearty salad. It is nutty, chewy, fruity, and a delicious way to start your day with breakfast Farro with Cinnamon Roasted Apples.

We love trying new meals, especially healthy and delicious ones. Our forefathers have always valued farro, and now it is our turn to find out what they knew.

Farro On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Farro is a grain commonly used as a carbohydrate source in meals. However, compared to popular refined carbohydrates, farro offers superior health benefits. Here are just a few of the numerous health benefits of farro.

Farro is a great source of fiber. Fiber, in turn, aids in the regulation of the digestive system. Studies have shown that farro can improve digestion in humans. Farro is often recommended for people suffering from constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders.

Farro contains a high amount of nutrients, making it a great substitute for “empty carbohydrates” that many diets warn against. In fact, it’s an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a great addition to the diets of vegetarians and vegans. Farro also contains a lot of iron, magnesium, and fiber.

Why Use A Substitute For Farro?

As I have told you all about how versatile farro is, some of you may be wondering why there is even a need to use a substitute for the same. Well, I won’t deny the fact that farro is an excellent grain with some good nutrients in it too. 

However, there are still some reasons you can consider using a substitute for farro. Out of these reasons, the first and foremost reason is that farro has to be cooked properly. 

Firstly, farro may not be available in many other parts of the world. So, sometimes finding a replacement for farro is the best solution.

Secondly, some people may not enjoy the taste of farro in their daily meals. In that case, finding farro substitutes in cooking becomes the easiest choice. Farro is a versatile grain that can be substituted for spelled berries, wheat berries, and Kamut berries in most recipes. 

Keep in mind the cooking times and applications when substituting farro. For example, replacing farro in a cold grain salad is simple: almost any grain can be substituted for another in this type of dish. In the case of adding uncooked farro to a soup, you will need to consider the different cooking times of the grain you’re substituting.

Now that you know so much about farro, I think it’s time for me to introduce the substitutes. So, the best farro substitutes are given in the next section without taking any more of your time. 

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

9 Best Farro Substitutes

This section has the best substitutes you can use in place of farro. You will get to understand the flavor and texture of each substitute, what recipe they would work best in, and the substitution ratio. 

1. Barley

barley on floor

The shape and texture of barley are very similar to farro. This thing makes it an excellent substitute for farro. If we talk about the flavor of barley, we will instantly recall farro. Barley is a very nutritious ingredient. It is rich in protein and high in fiber. We can call it a multi-tasking ingredient.

Barley is perfect for soups and salad. You can also serve barley as a sider to your chicken and roast beef. Barley is a super well-known ingredient. You can find it very easily in stores. So, this substitute is very easy to catch.

If you are a fan of thinner soup, then you can use barley in so many ways. Cook barley separately and add it to the soup at the end. Barley becomes fluffy after cooking it. One cup of barley will yield 3.5 cups of cooked barley.

2. Quinoa

quinoa in a bowl

Low-calorie superfood quinoa can be the best substitute for farro. Quinoa has high fiber and high protein content. Health-conscious individuals will include quinoa in their diets. Quinoa comes from the mountains of Peru.

Quinoa can be used in a variety of recipes. This grain can make your soups and salads mouthwatering. Quinoa is not enough for soups and salads; it is best with baked dishes, pillars, and casseroles. Quinoa is gluten-free as well.

People looking for a gluten-free substitute for farro then go for quinoa. Quinoa provides essential amino acids to the diet. It is also great for vegan and vegetarian recipes due to its protein content. We can use quinoa in the same ratio as farro. Quinoa comes in three color varieties black, white and red. White quinoa is the perfect replacement for white rice. You can cook quinoa very easily. It has a nutty flavor and fluffy texture.

3. Spelt Berries

spelt berries on surface

Spelt berries are the whole grain version of spelt. We can call spelt grain an ancient grain. It is very similar to wheat grain. It is a perfect substitute for farro. Since it is like wheat grain, it is not gluten-free. Spelt berries a bit look like sunflower seeds. It is not berries at all.

Spelt berries are also rich in protein and fiber, just like farro. But they have different textures than farro. You can make excellent soups with spelt berries. Serving spelt berries as a side of your eggs and fruit is a good idea. To complete your day, serve spelt berries with salads and breakfast bowls.

You can make amazing stews and rice-based dishes. It gives a nutty flavor after cooking it, similarly to farro. Spelt berries have a tougher and dent texture, which is good for a grain salad. While on the other hand, farro has a little softer texture and goes well with risotto and soups. Farro and spelt berries are interchangeable ingredients by Italian people.

4. Wheat Berries

wheat berries in a bowl

Wheat berries, similar brownish-red color, are the perfect substitutes for farro. Wheat berries have earthy and nutty flavors. If we talk about the texture, wheat berries have a lighter and chewy texture than farro. You can make an excellent wholesome breakfast with wheat berries.

Add honey, cinnamon, and milk to complement your mixed wheat berries breakfast. They are perfectly scooped into chili or soups. You can serve them as a sider of your dish. However, wheat berries are a good substitute for farro but not quick. If you are running late, you have to think twice. Wheat berries take a longer time to cook than farro.

Cracked berries are also made from raw wheat berries. They are quicker to use and have good nutritional value. Wheat berries have a good source of protein and fiber. It is a perfect addition to the vegan and vegetarian diet. Wheat berries come from the wheat plants.

5. Rye Berries

rye berries on surface

This high-fiber rye berry comes from the rye berry plant. Once cooked, they have a nutty flavor and firm texture. Rye berries are also a good alternative for farro. They are a good choice for your everyday soups and stews. To make more exotic risotto, pilaf, tabouli rye berries are a lovely addition.

The glycemic index of rye berries is lower than that of farro. It contains less gluten. It has a similar, nutty flavor to farro. It has a slightly sweet and sour undertone. Rye berries are perfect for a healthy, filling breakfast. You can combine it with cereals and grated apples. Add little cinnamon to get the best flavor out of it.

Rye berries are not that well known like other grains. When you cook whole kernels of rye grain, they change their color. After cooking, the deep brown grain is called rye berries. Rye berries are healthier than farro. They are very good for people who have type-2 diabetes.

6. Freekeh

freekeh in a bowl

Freekeh is not that common grain. It is derived from wheat grain. We can call it the best substitute for farro. This is not a gluten-free grain like wheat. It is becoming a more popular ingredient in America. People are using it as a substitute for rice and oats. Most of the time, it is compared to bulgar wheat for its flavor, shape, and texture. 

Freekeh takes a much longer time to cook than another substitute. This is a satisfying grain to add to your repertoire. It gives amazing flavor. Using freekeh is very easy; no need to worry about measurements. You can use it in the same ratio as farro. It gives a toothsome flavor to your dish.

Freekeh is too moist and young to cook. Freekeh has a little smokey taste, while farro’s taste is different. It has a nutty taste. Use freekeh to your savory dishes to add extra depth and flavor.

7. Bulgur

bulgur in a bowl

Bulgur is made from wheat. Bulgur has a good nutty flavor and chewy texture, just like farro. Bulgur is a good substitute for farro. Bulgur is a high-calorie food. It is less nutritious than farro. Bulgur is a whole grain, and it is produced from dried, cracked wheat.

Bulgur is also very similar to quinoa and couscous. When you buy bulgur, it is pre-cooked, which is a major benefit. So, this ingredient can save your cooking time. Especially when you are in a hurry, this one is good to go.

Cooking bulgur resembles the scent of popcorn. Bulgur has a healthy amount of fibers, proteins, and omega-3. Bulgur improves gut health and digestion and promotes weight loss. Bulgur is very easy to cook and can be added to many dishes. Bulgur works well from soups to stews, salads, and bread. If you are new to this ingredient, you must try it. This superfood is easy to make.

8. Kasha

kasha in a bowl

Kasha, another great substitute for farro, you can make at your home. Roast and soak buckwheat groats well and simmer them until they become soft, and you will get kasha. This amazing cereal has a strong nutty flavor that comes out when you cook them. They come along with a firm and gummy texture.

Kasha does not need that much liquid when you cook them. If you cook kasha for a long time, it will turn into a mushy mix, which will not be that tempting. You can not find this grain easily, but you can still purchase it online. Kasha and farro both are rich in antioxidants and fibers. This fiber-rich substitute is gluten-free also.

Let me tell you the eating methods of kasha. You can enjoy a bowlful morning with kasha by just adding some milk to it. For lunch, we toast it with some fresh veggies in salad and make a savory dish. We all are connected to a tempting dinner, right? Then try this ingredient with caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms.

9. Triticale Berries

triticale berries on the surface

Triticale berries are made from rye and wheat. Triticale berries are a great substitute for farro. They have the nutty flavor of wheat, which is in farro. Triticale berries have a rough texture. You have to soak this ingredient well until it turns soft.

Triticale berries contain more fiber than both rye and wheat. Triticale berries do not have much cooking time, but you must soak them overnight to use. So this ingredient will take some pre-preparation time. Triticale berries are an excellent substitute for wheat flour also. They work well in baked dishes.

This berry promotes good bone health and gives antioxidants also. You can also control your body weight by using these berries. You can make flour out of these berries, make nice muffins, and so many desserts.

Short Recap For Best Farro Substitutes

Here is a short recap of the best farro substitutes.

Best Farro Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor and Texture –

  1. Barley 
  2. Bulgur 

Best Gluten-free Farro Substitutes –

  1. Quinoa
  2. Kasha

Best Farro Substitutes In Terms Of Health –

  1. Quinoa  
  2. Rye berries

How To Use Farro Substitutes In Your Recipes

farro in the sieve

Farro Substitutes

Farro is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate cereal. It has a great health profile and is widely used in many parts of the United States.
5 from 1 vote


  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt Berries
  • Wheat Berries
  • Rye Berries
  • Freekeh
  • Bulgur
  • Kasha
  • Triticale Berries


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
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Final Word

So these are the best farro substitutes you can use in your rice, salads, and meat recipes. Many of these are easily recognizable and found in your pantry. Not all will be able to exactly replicate the taste of farro in your recipes, but it is still better than nothing at all.

Let me know in the comments if you agree with our list and your favorite substitute. This was all from me. I’ll see you next time. Until then, take care and happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is farro better for you than rice?

Yes! Farro is a highly nutritious grain. It’s high in protein, fiber, and nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. 

Is farro a carb or protein?

Farro is a high-protein grain, containing 5 grams per serving and it’s quite low in carbs.

Is quinoa healthier than farro?

Quinoa & farro are high in fiber and protein. Farro takes the top spot and provides nearly twice the value of quinoa in the same size serving.

Which substitute of farro is for vegans & vegetarians?

For vegans & vegetarians, the best farro substitute is quinoa. 

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