Instant Pot Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf

This Instant Pot Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf with dried cherries, fresh herbs, and toasted hazelnuts adds delicious flavor and texture to your holiday table. With your Instant Pot/pressure cooker, you can have this healthy side on your table in less than 45 minutes! This recipe first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today where I am a monthly contributor.

Instant Pot Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf in a red stoneware bowl with napkin.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf

Feliz día de acción de gracias! Happy Thanksgiving from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley! I hope it has been a wonderful holiday weekend spent with your loved ones…

Holiday menus tend to be heavy and rich. While I do my fair share of “splurging” during the holidays, I also try to keep as much to my typical fare as possible. Whole grains are always part of our healthy diet.

We love farro. Farro is perhaps more common in Italian cuisine, but it is beginning to catch on in the United States. In Italy, farro is likely to be whole or “semi-pearled,” meaning some of the bran remains. In the United States, most farro is “pearled.” The bran has been removed. Wild rice is a natural pairing with farro as both are best with a little bit of a “bite” or tooth to them. Mushy grains are not very appetizing.

Wild Rice and Farro Pilaf
Be sure to use whole grain products, NOT quick cooking, par cooked, or the cracked stuff! I’m not particularly loyal to any brands, these are what I had on hand on photo day…

Fresh herbs – parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and chives – seem so appealing this time of year. My herb garden is thriving with our cooler days in south Texas, so they were a natural addition to this dish. I have always loved dried cherries with wild rice, and toasted hazelnuts, well, aren’t they good in almost anything?

The “trick” in putting together this dish was in figuring out the proportion of grain to liquid. Farro needs a 1:2 grain to liquid ratio; wild rice requires a 1:1.5 rice to liquid ratio. What I discovered, though, is that cooking the pilaf in plenty of liquid then draining it off is the key to success.

My experience in years of cooking wild rice and grains is that cooking liquid varies from one dry batch to the next, and one brand to the next. The key is to concentrate on getting that al dente texture, and not worry about having all of the liquid absorbed in the cooking process.

Once you toss that preconceived notion, you may be very pleased with the results! Both cooking methods – Instant Pot and stove top – use additional liquid which will get drained off after cooking. Use a fine mesh sieve to capture the minced herbs. I like to save the drained liquid to add to a pot of soup later.

🍜 Why Instant Pot Farro?

Why bother with the Instant Pot? It’s more “hands off” than stove top. Once I get the Instant Pot going, I can focus on any other dishes. This makes it a great side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!

One key advantage to the Instant Pot over a slow cooker is the sauté setting that allows food to be browned or seared prior to adding liquid. Of course you can cook it in one pot on the stove as well.

Does the Instant Pot save time? Yes and no. It saves active time. You don’t have to keep an eye on the water level and stir occasionally. You do have to account for the time to come up to pressure, as well as the time required for de-pressurization at the end.

Whether you use a pressure cooker or your stove top, you will want to sauté the onion or shallots, garlic, and grains in a bit of olive oil prior to cooking. I hope you will give this one a try!

📋 Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for the farro and wild rice pilaf.
Most of the ingredients for the farro and wild rice pilaf! On photo day, I forgot the shallot, but you’ll see it in the instructions steps below! OOPS!
  • pearled whole grain farro – As I explained above, Italians are likely to use whole grain or semi-pearled farro. In the US, you’re more likely to find pearled farro or par-cooked farro. Use pearled farro for this recipe. Rinse excess starch before cooking.
  • wild rice – IMPORTANT NOTE: Use all natural whole grain wild rice like this wild rice or this rice. Rinse excess starch before cooking. Avoid wild rice blends and par-cooked wild rice.
  • liquid – This farro recipe requires quite a lot of liquid. I usually use 1/2 broth and 1/2 liquid.
  • garlic
  • dried fruit – Dried cherries are my favorite, but I don’t always have them. Dried cranberries are a great substitute, but I can’t think of a dried fruit that wouldn’t work…
  • fresh herbs – I consider this to be a fall dish, and parsley, sage, rosemary, and time seem appropriate. If you don’t have fresh, 1 tablespoon of fresh is the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of dried.

🔪 Instructions

Step 1 - Sauté until fragrant and grains are dry.
  • Sauté the grains and aromatics – Using the sauté setting on your Instant Pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, and the shallot and garlic. Continue cooking 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then add the rinsed farro and wild rice. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the grains are dry and lightly toasted.
Step 2 - Add liquid and fresh herbs. Stir to combine.
  • Set the Instant Pot – Add the liquid, herbs, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine. Lock the lid in place, and set on manual high-pressure for 15 minutes. Keep in mind, it takes awhile to get to high pressure, and that is when the countdown begins. While the grains cook, hydrate the dried cherries, toast the hazelnuts, and chop some fresh herbs for garnish.
Step 3 - Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes until tender.
  • Drain the pilaf – Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure. Test a few grains. It should be firm but tender. If you’re happy with it, drain any liquid that remains with a fine mesh sieve (to save the herbs!).
Step 4 - Combine dried cherries and toasted hazelnuts with farro mixture.
  • Finish the pilaf – Add the rehydrated cherries and toasted hazelnuts, then stir to combine.
  • NOTE: If you’re not ready to serve the pilaf, you can scoop it back into the Instant Pot and cover it. Set it on warm until ready to serve.
  • Serve – If not serving immediately, spoon the pilaf into an oven safe dish and cover it with foil or a lid. Place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
A close up of the finished Instant Pot farro with a copper serving spoon.

❓ FAQ

How should I store farro?

Store uncooked pearled farro in the unopened packaging in the pantry for three months and in the freezer for up to six months. Once you open the package, keep any unused portion in an airtight container away from moisture and light. Unprocessed farro, often sold as whole farro, can be kept in a cool, dark, dry pantry in an airtight container for a year.

How long can I keep leftover farro and wild rice pilaf?

Save leftover pilaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and use it within three days.

💭 Tips

  • Always rinse the farro and wild rice before cooking to get rid of excess starch.
  • DO NOT FILL Instant Pot more than half way when cooking grains!
  • Farro and barley can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
  • If you’re into not wasting anything, the liquid drained from the pilaf can be used in soups and other savory dishes.
  • If you start the pilaf with very hot liquid, you will bring it to pressure more quickly.
Thanksgiving Signature

A wood tray with an oval cast iron platter of farro and wild rice pilaf.

Instant Pot Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf

Wild Rice and Farro Pilaf with dried cherries, fresh herbs, and toasted hazelnuts adds delicious flavor and texture to your holiday table. You can have this healthy side on your table in 45 minutes with your Instant Pot.
4.50 from 2 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 180 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot DUO60 6 Quart

Ingredients
  

  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 shallot - or 1/2 a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • ¾ cup wild rice - rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups pearled farro - rinsed
  • 6 cups liquid - I use half broth and half water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs - or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • ¾ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup hazelnuts - toasted and coarsely chopped
  • fresh herbs to garnish - chives, thyme, parsley

Instructions

Instant Pot

  • Sauté the onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil in the pressure cooker. Add the wild rice and farro. Continue cooking until they are fragrant.
  • Add the broth/stock, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  • Lock the lid in place. Cook 15 minutes on manual setting/high pressure.
  • Meanwhile cover the dried cherries with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Toast the hazelnuts, and coarsely chop.
  • After 15 minutes, allow Instant Pot to de-pressureize 10 minutes, then release pressure fully.

Cooktop

  • Saute the onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the wild rice. Stir to coat.
  • Add the broth/stock, herbs, salt, and pepper. Cover. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the farro. Add to the pot after the wild rice cooks 10 minutes.
  • Continue to simmer until the rice and farro are al dente – still firm.
  • Meanwhile cover the dried cherries with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Toast the hazelnuts, and coarsely chop.

To Finish

  • Drain the liquid from the pot using a fine mesh sieve. Add the rehydrated cherries and toasted hazelnuts. Toss to combine.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs such as chopped chives and thyme leaves.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • I use about equal parts fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, very finely chopped. When using dried, reduce to about 1 teaspoon +/-.
  • Do not use quick-cook farro in this recipe. It has been pre-cooked and dried and requires only 10 minutes. That won’t work with the wild rice, unless you are prepared to add it in just 10 minutes before the wild rice is done!
  • Dried cranberries are a great substitution for the cherries.

Nutrition

Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

Instant Pot Farro and Wild Rice Pilaf red stoneware bowl with silver spoon.
Original photo – November 2016…

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