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Tuscan Bean Soup

This is a traditional Tuscan dish made with farro and beans, both staples in Tuscan cooking. This soup is really hearty and paired along with a salad, is a complete meal. The beans, of course, are high in protein but so is the farro, making this dish a great vegetarian meal. Farro is an ancient grain that has been used in Italy forever. It's similar to spelt. It has a great nutty flavor.

The beans I've used are the best beans you can buy. Never heard of Rancho Gordo? You should check them out. This guy lives in Napa Valley and produces heirloom beans that are really outstanding. He has all kinds of beans from yellow beans and pinto beans to hard to find beans such as Christmas lima beans and flageolet beans. And if you think you've had good black beans, try his black turtle beans. You've never tasted such great black beans. I make vegetarian tacos with them and never miss the meat.

Tuscan Bean Soup

for a recipe only to print, click here

serves 6


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1.5 cups dried white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, soaked in water overnight
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock
  • 15 ounce can plum tomatoes, San Marzano preferably
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • Olive Oil for drizzling
  • Grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano for grating or shaving for garnish




In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the vegetables and garlic and saute slowly, about 7-8 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pot with the stock. Break up the tomatoes a little with a spoon (I use my fingers) and add to the pot with the rosemary. Raise the heat a little and bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until all the beans are tender, about one hour. Discard the rosemary.

Meanwhile, cook the farro in a small saucepan with water to cover and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Take an immersion blender (please get one if you don't have one and save yourself a lot of trouble) and insert into the soup and puree. I like to puree it just until it's thick and you have some small chunks of the bean left, not until it's perfectly smooth. You can puree further if you like. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, blend and then transfer back to the pot. Add the farro and reheat gently.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and shave Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese on top. Serve immediately.

You can buy farro here

For my recipe for Farro Salad (one of my favorites) click here

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Reader Comments (13)

i have heard about those beans! i am a legume freak so i should try to find them!

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAran

i love the labels on the packets!

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRaspberry Riot

I included a link to them in the post. You'll love their web site - full of recipes and tip for cooking beans properly.

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe italian dish

That picture is like looking in my pantry. ;) What a great use this would be for some of my RG cannelinis. Thanks!

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

Thanks for all the info on those great beans Elaine, I checked out their website, and plan to order.
Your warm and fulfilling soup looks like a big bowl of comfort!

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterProud Italian Cook

I just ordered a bunch of beans from Rancho Gordo. Can't wait until they come. I'm making this soup as soon as they arrive.

September 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeb S

Just wonderful. Made this for my vegetarian daughter. We love it. YUM.

January 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie K

Your blog is my favorite food blog of all time. Kudos to you and many thanks for all of the gorgeous pictures and fantastic recipes.

I made this soup and it is fantastic. I'll definitely be making batches for others this fall.

I couldn't find farro or barley at the grocery (I've gotten it there in the past!), so I bought barley-shaped egg noodle pasta. I cooked it per the package's directions and added it after pureeing the finished soup. It was a great substitute. Other minor alterations I made were using 1 spring of rosemary instead of 2 and using the liquid from the can of tomatoes (and less broth).

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

My Rancho Gordo beans came in a couple of weeks ago and I've been waiting to make this soup, I'm doing so this weekend and I can't wait! Your recipe looks wonderful!!

I've looked everywhere on-line and in health-food stores for farro without luck. I was excited to see your link to AG, but alas, this site doesn't carry it either, so you may want to remove it. They've got plenty of farro products, but they do not carry the whole grain. I've got spelt and barley at home, i'll give one of those a try.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangelitacarmelita

Wait - this recipe calls for CHICKEN stock, so it's not vegetarian. Obviously you can swap in vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon makes a no chicken chicken broth) but the author and someone on the comment board both referred to it as vegetarian.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather M

Made this soup the day before New Years, using home made chicken stock. Onion was not added, because I had none on hand, but chicken stock was cooked with one, so flavor wise it was there. Upon mixing the soup into stew like consistency, lack of onion did not impact the final result, which needless to say was nothing short of aromatic, protein rich and guilt free enjoyment. Thanks to farro in the recipe,my husband now wants to grow it in our backyard. These flavors can also call for a heavier soup version for carnivores - adding cooked ham. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe, it truly has Italy written all over it. We enjoyed it.

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Made this the other night and it came out great. Excited for left overs for lunch this snowy and cold week in NYC!

February 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenternina

This is very good soup. I added a little pancetta before I added the vegetables. i will definitely
make it again.

November 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJudy Perrelli Huyck

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