Farro Vegetable Soup

This is one of my on-the-spot made up recipes that turned out AMAZING! When you try something new you are never quite sure how it will turn out, but you always start the journey with a vision. My vision was a warm, hearty, comforting soup to eat after a long day of work and commuting in the cold (I’ve mentioned before that I am ready for spring). And I know in my last post I said that I wasn’t going to cave into the cold and make soup….but I did….and it was SO very worth it!

For those of you that have not cooked with farro, don’t be nervous! It is an ancient grain and can be a substitute for rice, quinoa, or pasta. You can find farro in the bulk section of the supermarket, in a quick-cooking version at (my favorite) Trader Joe’s, and near the rice in larger grocery stores. I purchased the package variety because it gave a crash course on cooking method/time on the back. Farro is a great source of protein and fiber, and contributes a delightful nutty texture to any meal. (Another one of my favorite uses is to cook then mix with sauteed carrot, celery, golden raisins, and dried cranberries.)Be adventurous and try this grain!

My inspiration for this soup was minestrone(ish); I wanted the protein and texture of the beans, the flavor boost from veggies and stock, and some type of grain. This combination makes a well rounded, healthy meal in one bowl. I had some farro in my cabinet from a previous recipe and figured it was a perfect way to use it up! I love being right…

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 1 medium to large zucchini, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3-4 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 (15oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can red kidney beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans; drained and rinsed
  • 4-6 c. vegetable stock (or homemade chicken stock http://freshpickedlove.com/2012/12/26/homemade-chicken-stock/)
  • 3/4 c. farro

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions to saute. Cook onion for 5-8 minutes until translucent; add carrot, zucchini, salt/pepper and cook until tender (8-10 minutes). Add garlic and saute 1 minute.

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Next, sprinkle in oregano, fennel seeds, and add whole sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Leaving the fresh herbs whole makes them easier to pull out of the soup later. Stir in fire roasted tomatoes, beans, and stock.

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Bring the mixture to a boil and add farro. Cover and simmer the soup 30-45 minutes until farro is puffed and cooked through. Remove rosemary/thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with crackers, if desired. Enjoy this delicious and comforting soup!

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