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Tuesday
Jan282014

Minestrone Soup with Farro

  

Is it cold enough for you?  Here in Michigan we have had just about enough of winter. The wind chills keep forcing our schools to close and it just never seems to end. We haven't had one thaw all winter. So I keep making cold weather dishes like chili, ragus and soups.

I've never posted a recipe for Minestrone Soup because it just seems so basic but there are people who are just beginner cooks and need a good basic soup recipe. This is a classic Minestrone with lots of vegetables and beans but instead of using pasta in this version, I used farro.  If you are looking to eat more whole grains and avoid white flour, farro is a good swap.  You can still use pasta in this recipe if you like - just throw some small pasta in for the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking. 

This farro that I have been buying lately is a really terrific whole grain from Bluebird Grain Farms.  Farro is an ancient grain that Romans have been eating for centuries.  Emmer is a more old world term for farro, but it is the same thing. This farro is very chewy and plump and worth a try over the pearled farro that you can buy in the grocery store. 

When I make soup, I don't use a recipe but I had to put quantities down for an official recipe!  So when you make the soup, use the quantities of vegetables that you like and use the kind of vegetables you like.  Don't like zucchini?  Just leave it out.  Want more broth in the soup - just add more.  Make it the way you like it. And remember - it's better when you make it, refrigerate for a while and then reheat it.  You can even freeze it. 

Stay warm!

Minestrone Soup with Farro

for a printable version, click here

serves 8 - 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ā…” cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 cup sliced leek, white & light green parts only
  • 1½ cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage 
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • ā…” cup sliced sweet bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • ½ cup farro  (or use tiny pasta if you like)
  • 4 - 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 cup packed spinach, chopped

Instructions:

In a large heavy pot, add the olive oil, onion, celery, leek, carrots and cabbage. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium low heat, stirring the vegetables until slightly soft.  

Add the rest of the ingredients except the spinach and only adding 4 cups of broth (if using tiny pasta, add the pasta during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking). Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for about 45 minutes.  Taste and check for seasoning, adding more sea salt if desired.  Add the spinach and cook for 10 minutes. Check seasoning again. If too thick, add more chicken broth.

This soup is even better if you can make it in the morning, let it cool and refrigerate and then rewarm just before serving.  

Grate Parmigiano cheese on top to serve if you like.  We like it!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (19)

Look at all those beautiful veggies. Yum! I'm making this tonight along with a nice crusty garlic bread.

Thanks for the recipe. I'm an experienced cook, but I've never made minestrone.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

What a great idea to use farro instead of pasta. I will have to try this next time. My daughter lives in MI and she has been telling me about how cold it is up there. But you know wh, it is pretty cold here in FL right now. Crazy winter. We all need a bowl of this wonferful soup.
Jovina

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJovina Coughlin

Thank you for such a great recipe, made it today. Perfect for a cold New England winter dinner! Love your blog.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGigi

I accidentally put the faro in with the last of the vegetables. Is this going to mess up the grain and make it too mushy?
Also, I had read somewhere to freeze the rind of my fresh Parmagiano and then put them into soup to add depth and flavor. I had two small rinds in the freezer so I added those. Can you tell me your thoughts on doing this? I hope I did not ruin the soup by adding those! (But I love love love my parm!)
Thank you! (really enjoy your blog!)

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

From The Italian Dish:

Becca: No, the farro goes in with the vegetables - you're okay. If you're using regular pearled farro, it cooks in 25 minutes or so. The farro I get from Bluebird Farms takes a little longer. It will be fine. And the parm rinds are indeed a nice addition!

January 28, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I'm halfway through my bowl and had to put it down to say this is the best minestrone I've ever made! There is nothing like permission to improvise wildly. Previous recipes seem to take forever but this came together quickly and I literally used what was in the crisper. No cabbage but parsnips. No leek but a fennel bulb. No farro but orzo. No fresh thyme (and it's 4 below out there!) but the tail end of a nice herb mix someone gave me. I will never make quite this minestrone again but that's ok. That's what makes cooking (especially with this blog!) so exciting. Oh, and corn muffins were perfect with it!

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeg

You are so on time with the weather around the country. Love farro for soup.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Elaine, you have a most wonderful site. Your recipes are delicious and so appreciated. I forward you to many hoping they will sign up ! I'm always looking for gluten free recipes and many Italian dishes are conducive to that end. Suggesting Farro, an ancient grain, is very helpful.

Thanks !!

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBianca

Hi Elaine,

I made your soup yesterday and have decided it is the one and only recipe I'll ever need for minestrone soup! I added some small spicy meatballs (which I baked separately) just before serving to make it a complete meal. I served it for lunch with fresh bread; my friend raved (and took home some of the leftovers). Fabulous!

Thanks for a great site---best wishes,
Louise

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

This is the best Minestrone I've ever tasted. I bought Nature's Earthly Choice Italian Pearled Farro at Sprout's. Thanks for introducing me to this grain. I really like the texture of it. I used Garbanzo beans instead of cannellini beans, only because that's all I had. I wasn't sure if I should drain and rinse the beans first, but that's what I did, and the consistency of the soup was perfect. I also wasn't sure whether I should break up the tomatoes a little and ended up smashing them up at the end of the 45 minutes since they were still whole.

A great healthful soup!! I'll make it again and again.

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanni

I have been making ministrone forever and my "recipe" is very similar to yours although have never thought about using something other than pasta! Love farro and can't wait to try this variation. I would like to suggest that vegetable broth is an acceptable alternative to chicken broth, however, which would make this a vegan dish and most welcome to those who do not want to eat animal products.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachele

Really want to try these they look and "sound" delicious....even healthy

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterteena

A truly declicious soup. I didn't use the cabbage and I had to make due with 2/3 can of tomato puree and 6 plum tomatoes instead of the canned San Marzano's but the flavor was fantastic. I love your site. Great recipes!

February 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! Iā€™m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!
A healthier option for a family favorite.

December 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIhjaz Ahmad

To make this soup you do not need to measure everything, just trust your own jugement and please.... do not put meat, it is not called "minestrone with meat", for goodness sake can we have one meal without the meat.... just saying !!!!! I make this soup and double or triple the recipe and freeze the extra portions, it's just as good when it has been frozen. Also if you run out of broth to make the soup you can add one can or two of Hunts tomato juice. Bon appetit !!!!

February 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarie-Claire Tondu

Why be so rigid about adding meat to this soup?

I did with great success. Recipes are guidelines, not carved in stone.

February 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

Louise, you can put as much meat in your soup but the Italien Minestrone doesn't have meat, I spent many years in Italy and I know about it. Of course any one can add what you want but then don't call it Minestrone, maybe : "Minestrone con carne, the American way"

February 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarie-Claire Tondu

I am a lady with lots of food allergies (gluten and legumes being two of them) so I did not put the green or can of beans in but did add mushrooms. Being a veggie I also swapped the chicken broth for vegetable broth and used a GF pasta. I found this soup totally amazing, It has a great flavour and keeps in the fridge well for a weeks worth of lunches. Thank you for this awesome recipe.

November 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

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