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Farro Risotto with Tomato and White Beans

5 from 7 votes

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This is an easy, no-stir farro risotto or “farrotto” made on the stovetop with tomatoes, cannellini beans and fresh Parmesan cheese. It’s a delicious vegetarian main dish the whole family will enjoy.

Photo of a white skillet with farro risotto in tomato sauce with white beans and cheese on top.

This farro risotto is a healthful, streamlined version of the traditional one made with rice. Farro, a whole-grain form of Italian wheat, is the star of this quick and easy risotto flavored with fresh tomatoes and white beans.

I call it “cheater’s risotto” because the recipe breaks a few rules of authentic risotto-making. According to the guidelines of Italian cooking:

  1. Risotto should always be made with short grain Arborio rice.
  2. It should be stirred attentively throughout the cooking process, while gradually adding liquid.

This recipe doesn’t abide by either of those classic rules. Italians (and other people) can be picky about these things, so I just wanted to put that out there!

Facts about farro

If you’re new to it, farro is a fantastic whole grain to add to your pantry.

Photo of a small bowl with uncooked farro kernels.

It’s an ancient grain, a type of emmer wheat that looks a lot like short grain brown rice or barley. But farro has a lot more character. Not to mention nutrients!

The Italian grain farro is high in protein, fiber and minerals. One cup of farro has 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. When you want something a bit healthier than plain white rice, farro is there for you.

How farro tastes: I would describe the flavor of farro as deliciously earthy, with a nutty flavor. And cooked farro has a texture that’s pleasantly toothsome — not chewy at all.

Ingredients you need to make farro risotto

Image showing pantry ingredients needed to make farro risotto, with white beans, pearled farro grains in a bowl, crushed tomatoes, shallot, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
  • Pearled or semi-pearled farro: This is the type most commonly found in supermarkets. The kernels have part of the bran removed, making it quicker to cook.
  • Cannellini beans: canned beans are perfect in this recipe.
  • Shallot or yellow onion
  • Unsalted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Crushed tomatoes: canned tomatoes that are packed in their own puree.
  • Parmesan cheese: Grate it on a microplane from a hunk of cheese, or buy it freshly grated.

Recipe steps

You’ll love this recipe, especially on a busy night when you need a quick dinner.

The shortcut: Instead of constantly stirring as in a classic method, boil the farro grains separately until tender (20-25 minutes). Note: You can cook the farro up to 3 days ahead. Add the pre-cooked grain to the simmered tomato mixture following the recipe.

  • Saute onion, garlic, crushed red chili and some thyme.
  • Add the tomatoes, cannellini beans and Parmesan cheese and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked farro. Top with more cheese and serve.

How long to cook farro

Farro that’s pearled or semi-pearled (which is mostly what’s found in grocery stores) doesn’t take forever to cook in boiling water, only about 20 minutes on the stovetop.

Make ahead and storage tips:

  • Cook the farro and keep refrigerated up to 3 days before cooking the shallots and tomato sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water in a separate container, or just add some broth when finishing the dish.
  • Leftover risotto will keep up to 5 days. The grains will absorb the liquid, so add some water or stock to loosen it when reheating.

What to serve with farro risotto

This risotto makes a satisfying vegetarian main dish, along with a side of Quick and Easy Broccolini. It’s also delicious as a base for any kind of cooked chicken, shrimp or other seafood.

For an extra hit of veggies, add some chopped greens (kale, chard, spinach) and let them wilt into to the warm risotto.

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Farro Risotto with White Beans and Tomato

Karen Tedesco
This is a quick and tasty vegetarian weeknight recipe the whole family will enjoy — no-stir farro risotto made with nutritious whole grains, canned tomatoes and cannellini beans.
Print Pin
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) farro
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 1 shallot or ½ of a yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 15-ounce (400 g) can crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can cannellini beans, drained

Instructions 

  • Cook the farro in a large saucepan of boiling water seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt. Cook 20-25 minutes, or when the grains are plump with a slight resistance in the center.  Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining.
  • In a 10-12" skillet or sauté pan, add the oil and  butter over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook until softened (but not browned). Add the garlic, thyme and chili and cook a few seconds until the garlic smells fragrant.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water Bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the cheese and beans, stirring to incorporate.
  • Add the farro to the mixture, stirring gently. Add more of the reserved cooking water if it seems too thick – it should be a little saucy. Generously top the dish with additional cheese and serve.

Notes

  • Cook the farro and keep refrigerated up to 3 days before cooking the shallots and tomato sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water in a separate container, or just add some broth when finishing the dish.
  • Leftover risotto will keep up to 5 days. The grains will absorb the the sauce, so add some water or stock to loosen it when reheating.
  • For an extra hit of veggies, add some chopped greens (kale, chard, spinach) and let them wilt into to the warm risotto.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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10 Comments

  1. Liza Finkel says:

    5 stars
    This is on my list of dishes to make over the holidays!!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is oh so good! I’ll be making it again.

  3. Making it for the 4th time tonight. Love it!!!

  4. Made this today. Sooooo good I can’t stop eating it!!! Thank you so much!!

  5. How is this the next day? Does it keep OK for leftovers?

  6. oh yum! i love fall recipes…..

  7. This looks so delicious! I love farro.

    best,
    Alison

  8. With fall finally in sight, I want this!!! (of course I want it even when fall is not in sight).