Kale and Farro Soup

Serves 6
Alison Shaw photo

This is similar to an Italian vegetable soup, only better (and easier) with added nutrients from kale and a quick-cooking and delicious Italian grain called farro. A type of wheat imported from Italy, farro offers a mildly chewy, nutty flavor, similar to barley, which can be substituted if farro is unavailable. To create a vegetarian version add water instead of stock plus two Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 whole leek, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
8 cups chicken stock
2-3 large carrots (about 2 cups), cut in half lengthwise and sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup farro*
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 bunch (about 3 cups lightly packed) kale, stems removed, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to taste

  1. In a soup pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the leek and sauté until leeks are softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes. Add stock, carrots, celery, thyme, farro and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer soup, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in chopped kale and tomatoes. Bring to a boil again, turn to low and simmer a final 15 to 20 minutes, until farro and kale are tender. Taste the soup and add additional salt if needed and a few grinds of pepper. Top each bowl with Parmesan cheese for more depth of flavor.

Using Barley Instead of Farro

Farro can be found in Whole Foods Market and other supermarkets in the grain section, or sometimes the dried pasta section. If you can’t find farro, use barley instead. Decrease the amount to 1/3 of a cup of barley and increase the initial cooking time to 30 minutes, for a total of about 50 minutes.


From Kale, Glorious Kale
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