This hearty garden vegetable soup is an easy, healthy recipe for you to make anytime. High in fiber farro, beans, and a vegetable medley is a satisfying meal!
I’ve been desperately craving a healthy meal lately. The Gavin House has been indulging these past few weeks, enjoying every last slice of pie and bites of turkey as we wrap up some holiday celebrations. Have you been feeling that post-turkey day slump too?
With the chilly weather finally settling in California, I wanted to make a big pot of hot and healthy soup that you can whip up whenever the moment calls. Let’s fire up the stove! We can enjoy a comforting bowl of hearty garden vegetable farro soup to soothe and reset our bodies.
I like to start off any soup with a classic mirepoix; onions, carrots, and celery. This adds an excellent base of earthy flavors to the soup while it infuses into the broth. This soup is meant to have chunkier pieces of vegetables, simmered with hearty, healthy white beans, and cooked farro.
How to Cook Farro
I’ve been looking for an easy, healthy grain to add to my dishes and pearled farro was my answer!
- Farro is an Italian emmer wheat, an ancient strain of hard wheat from the Fertile Crescent in western Asia. It is high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein, cha-ching! It’s also very easy to digest, so your body can absorb all of those great nutrients.
- It is cooked directly in the simmering soup liquid until tender. If you are making it for a different dish, you can simmer it in a large pot of water for about 25 minutes, until the grains are tender but slightly chewy. You just drain and add it to your dish. It helps make this soup more filling, and it’s similar to rice with a little bit more of a chewy texture.
This soup is like your garden just jumped into the bowl, ha! Carrots, peas, ripe grape tomatoes, onions, fennel, celery and fresh basil, all are ready to party.
Since Farro is an ancient grain, I thought it was only right to add a little bit of grated Parmesan cheese on top. It adds a salty and savory flavor, marrying all those tender ingredients together.
Do you love crusty bread as much as our family does? If I can find a whole wheat artisan loaf at the market, I snatch it up and warm it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the outside right before I serve this soup. A few dunks of bread to soak up all of the savory flavors is wonderful. Our spunky toddler James enjoyed the soft vegetables in the soup. It’s nice being able to share our meals with him now. Enjoy friends!
What is the proper way to cook Farro?
Select pearled farro, as it will cook more quickly than whole or semi-pearled. Farro is not like rice where it swells and absorbs all of the water. You want about a 1 part grain to 2.5 parts water, for example, 1 cup farro to 2.5 cups water. Farro is cooked on the stove top, with the water brought to a boil and then reduced to a simmer until the grain is tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes or what the manufacturer suggests. It can be cooked directly in the soup or drained and cooled if added to a salad. It’s so versatile plus all of the farro’s health benefits!
- 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 reccomended (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
- In a large pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, fennel, carrots, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring a few times until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to combine with the vegetables.
- Add the sliced baby tomatoes, vegetable broth, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling add the farro and beans, reduce liquid to a simmer over medium-low heat and cover soup. Cook for 25 minutes, or until farro grains are tender.
- Add 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.
- Vegetable broth can be substituted but use 8 cups of broth and omit the water.
- Chicken stock can be a substitute for vegetable stock. I like to use unsalted if you can find it so you can control how much you add to the soup.