Ancient and heirloom varieties of wheat like farro, freekeh and kamut contain gluten.  There are three varieties of farro:

  1. Farro piccolo (or einkorn),
  2. Farro grande (or spelt)
  3. Farro medio (or emmer).

Gluten is a family of many proteins found in wheat and other grains. Gluten is primarily made up of two different classes of proteins:

  1. Gliadin
  2. Glutenin

Pseudocereals like buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa are gluten-free because they are not grains, but, rather, grain-like seeds of broad-leafed plants.

Individuals with celiac disease and gluten intolerance react to the two proteins: gliadin and glutenin found in both ancient and modern hybridized wheat (including spelt, kamut, einkorn, emmer, triticale and other varieties of wheat) and other grains like barley, rye and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). Only one percent of the population has celiac disease.

For those who love wheat, try the ancient varieties, which are richer in polyphenols, fatty acids and minerals like selenium– and they taste better!

Whole-wheat Ancient Grain Spaghetti with Vegan Broccoli Sauce

Recipe created by Or Kahlon

Or Kahlon is a world-famous Israeli dancer, who is living in California. 

Or comes from a family of restauranteurs who stay true to their Moroccan, European and Mediterranean roots. A healthy Mediterranean diet is part of everyday life in Israel. Or says, “Sticking to a healthy Mediterranean plant-based diet is important when it comes to optimizing performance whether l am on stage or training.”

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Or Kahlon creating the recipe

 Ingredients (choose organic when available):

  • 8 ounces (300 grams) whole-wheat ancient grain spaghetti, makes 4 cups cooked
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1-cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 small bunch (2 ounces) fresh basil, stems removed
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 cup soft silken tofu, cubed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh *lemon juice (juice from ½ medium lemon)

Cook pasta according to package directions (“al dente”) and set aside in a large bowl.  Reserve ½-cup of the pasta cooking water. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add oil and cook onions with garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and peas, cover and allow to steam on top of the onions for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add a few tablespoons of water if needed. Transfer half of the cooked peas and broccoli from the saucepan into the bowl of a food processor, add basil, ¼ cup parsley (or cilantro) and lemon juice. Puree to create a sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the cooking water from the pasta (about a quarter cup). Pour the sauce into the saucepan and add scallions. Combine and heat for about 3 minutes.  Add pasta to the saucepan and gently toss with the sauce until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Garnish with leftover parsley and serve.  Serves 4.

*Lemon juice is a source of vitamin C that helps absorb the iron present in the dish

For more healthy Mediterranean recipes and diet secrets of the super-healthy, read my book: Beyond The Mediterranean diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy, available on