Hearty soups are great for Fall and Winter. They warm you from the inside out, and just make you feel so-o-o good! This one is high in fiber and uses an ancient grain — farro. Many people consider it to be interchangeable with spelt, but farro is an ancient grain and will cook in about 30-45 minutes. Spelt has a different texture and takes hours to cook. Both belong to the wheat family, so if you have sensitivities, you might want to skip this version (although spelt is digestible for some).
Farro is an Italian emmer wheat, and is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. It’s also very easy to digest, so your body can absorb all of those great nutrients. All you have to do is cook it directly in the simmering soup liquid until tender.
The proper way to cook Farro
Select pearled farro because it cooks more quickly than whole or semi-pearled. Farro does not swell and absorb all of the water, as rice does. The correct proportion is 1 cup farro to 2.5 cups water. Bring the water to a boil; reduce and simmer about 25 minutes, until the grain is tender but not mushy. Cook it directly in the soup, or drain and cool it and add it to salads. It’s so versatile and it has so many the health benefits!
Hearty Garden Vegetable Farro Soup
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
• 3/4 cup celery, 1/8-inch slices
• 1/2 cup yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
• 1 cup fennel, 1/4-inch dice
• 1 cup carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 cup baby tomatoes , cut in half
• 4 cups vegetable stock, unsalted recommended (32 ounces)
• 4 cups water
• 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed
• 15 ounces cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 cup peas, frozen, fresh or canned
• 2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped fine
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Throw in the celery, onion, fennel, carrots, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring a few times until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.
2. Now it’s time for the sliced baby tomatoes, vegetable broth, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the farro and beans. Reduce the liquid to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until farro grains are tender.
3. Put in the peas. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among bowls and top with the basil, parsley and Parmesan cheese.
1. If you substitute vegetable broth, use 8 cups of broth and omit the water.
2. Chicken stock can be a substitute for vegetable stock. Use unsalted, if you can find it, so you can control how much you add to the soup.