Italian Farro Soup

PHOTO: DEBORAH MURPHY, MS, RD

Do you like experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen? What’s the most recent new-to-you ingredient that you’ve tried? For me, it’s farro.

This time of year is typically bitter cold here in Chicago, so soup is on my mind. Luckily, farro works very well in soup! For those who aren’t familiar with it, farro is an ancient grain in the wheat family and very similar to barley when cooked.  I love the chewy texture that it adds to this soup. You can find it in the bulk bins or the baking or grain aisle. 

The recipe for this soup is vegan, but I made it non-vegan by topping with cheese and serving with buttered toast, which I highly recommend! 


Italian Farro Soup

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 1 small head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup farro
  • 6 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 15-ounce can drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 3 cups chopped lacinato kale leaves, stems removed
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Peel off outermost layers of the papery skin on the garlic, but leave head intact. Cut off ¼ inch from bottom of the garlic head, exposing the ends of some of the cloves. Place cut side up on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and wrap up in the foil. Roast for 40 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic out of the papery skin, finely chop the roasted cloves or press through a garlic press.
  3. While the garlic is roasting, bring the farro and 2½ cups vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until broth is absorbed and farro is chewy, but slightly underdone.
  4. In a large stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add onion. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Stir in roasted garlic and tomato paste.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, cooked farro, 4 remaining cups of broth, bay leaf, oregano and parsley. Bring to a simmer and stir.
  6. Add chickpeas and kale and allow to gently simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until kale has wilted and soup is hot.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with shredded cheese if desired.
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Deborah Murphy, MS, RD
Deborah Murphy, MS, RD, practices clinical dietetics in Chicago. She shares practical nutrition tips and healthy recipes on her personal blog, Dietitian Debbie Dishes. In her free time, you'll likely find her either shopping the farmers market or in the kitchen, camera and spatula in hand. Connect with Deborah on Twitter and Instagram.