Farro with Crispy Sausage and Kale

September 20, 2019

Farro with Crispy Sausage and Kale treats those chewy, nutty grains like pasta for a satisfying, weeknight-friendly meal that’s good for leftovers. A big squeeze of lemon juice and a shower of Pecorino romano cheese finishes it off with next-level flavor.

May I add an item to your dinner resolution list? Cook more farro. Treat it like pasta. Okay, sorry, that was two. But I think the second one will help you with the first- any time you’re tempted to make pasta for the third time this week, make farro instead. 

Farro with sausage and kale in one skillet with a wooden spoon.

If the thought of a classic rigatoni with sausage and kale makes your mouth water- try it with nutty, chewy farro. Combined with a lot of smashed garlic, salty pecorino, and punchy fresh lemon, this dish will turn you into a grain convert. I converted long ago, so it’s now my duty to evangelize. Not interested in kale? Swap in any other quick-cooking vegetable: Crispy farro with sausage and asparagus instead would be delicious.

What is farro?

Farro is a protein and fiber-packed whole grain that is rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants.

If you buy pearled farro (which is what you’ll find in most grocery stores anyway) it takes 6 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker or just about 20 in a pot of salted boiling water.

Farro in a pot with steam coming off it.

Just be sure to read the package’s directions on how best to cook it- this will vary depending on brand and variety.

It’s healthy but tastes as hearty as any shape of pasta, plus it lasts longer (and better) for leftovers during the week. 

Let’s make Farro with Sausage and Kale

Worried that you won’t get the husband or kids to try it?

That’s where the sausage comes in. 

Sausage, kale, garlic and pecorino on a white plate.

The sausage cooking method is key here: smash the sausage links into big pieces as they cook in hot olive oil. Then let them cook on one side until they develop a crispy, irresistible mahogany-brown crust. 

Break up the pieces one more time and remove them to a plate or bowl. Put the sausage somewhere the aforementioned husband and kids can’t reach. They’ll want more than one taste. 

Close-up shot of farro with sausage and kale in one skillet with a wooden spoon

Toss the farro in the reserved sausage fat, toasting it until it smells vaguely of fried rice. 

Add enough kale to make the dish feel virtuous again, then add the sausage back in and toss it all together. 

A final squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a ¼ cup of pecorino cheese livens up the hearty, chewy, glossy dish and renders it fully addictive. 

Farro with sausage and kale in white bowl with a silver spoon

It’s meant to leave you with leftovers for the week, but be warned: ambitious eaters will want seconds and thirds. 

If you’re left without leftovers, that’s okay. “Cook more farro” is on your dinner resolutions list now, so you’ll make it again.

Finally one delicious resolution that isn’t hard to keep.

Farro with Crispy Sausage and Kale

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)
Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes

A weeknight-friendly, satisfying meal that’s good for leftovers. Fast, healthy, and delicious. You'll become a grain convert.


  • 1 ½ cups farro
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (or 5 ounces baby spinach/kale)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving



Bring 4 ½ cups salted water to a boil. Cook the farro until al dente, about 20 minutes. Read your package directions for specific cooking instructions, farro cooking time can vary based on type/brand. Drain and set aside.


Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat. Add the sausage, smashing it into large, flat pieces with the back of a spoon. Cook without stirring, just breaking up the pieces occasionally until one side is crispy and browned and the sausage is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low (or turn off heat completely, you don’t want the garlic to burn), add the garlic and cook for about one minute, until the garlic is softened and fragrant.


Turn the heat back to medium, stir in the cooked farro until it’s coated in the garlicky, sausage-y oil. Taste the farro and add salt and pepper as needed.


Add the kale in batches, letting it wilt between additions. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Off heat, stir in the lemon juice and pecorino. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.


Serve with a bit of extra pecorino sprinkled on top of each portion.


  • 554 Calories


To make the farro in a pressure cooker, combine 1 1/2 cups farro with 4 1/2 cups water and 1.5 tsp salt. Cook on high pressure for about 6 minutes, manually release, and drain. Try this with a dry riesling to temper the mild spice of the sausage or a full-bodied Chablis to match the weight of this dish. For reds, try something with low tannins and high acidity to contrast the fatty sausage.

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