Hardy Farro Minestrone ~ A Great Winter Dish!

This is a lovely winter dish, hardy, easy to make and sure to warm you up on a cold day! Minestrone is usually made with pasta. Making it with farro, an ancient Italian wheat version, makes for a hardier and very tasty version! Farro Minestrone



  • 1 cup of dry farro
  • 1 leeks, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 small bunch of kale, stripped of stems and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 jar/can of tomatoes (15 oz)
  • Vegetable stock or bouillon
  • 1 can of beans of your choice (I used cannellini beans in this version) drained and rinsed(15 oz)
  • Salt
  • Fresh herbs of your choice: cilantro, parsley, marjoram, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1-2 lemons
  • Fresh ground parmesan (optional)


Pre-cooked Farro

  1. Pre-cook farro. Because the grain takes a while to cook, you will want to pre-cook it, otherwise all the veggies will turn into mush by the time the grain is done. You can do this at any time, today I did it in the morning while talking to my sister on the phone: In a medium sauce pan combine farro with 3 cups of water. Cook for 30 minutes (not until done!), drain, set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot and leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for 10 minutes at low temperature.
  3. Add stock or bouillon, 4-5 cups, add more liquid if soup needs thinning
  4. Add chopped herbs and red pepper flakes
  5. Add farro, tomatoes and beans, simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes
  6. Add kale and lemon zest, simmer for 2 more minutes
  7. Season with salt if needed
  8. Add grated parmesan if desired.

    Bon Appetite!


Mixed Legume Soup with Corn, Tomatoes, Kale and Carrots

This legume soup can be a great choice for both a winter or summer dish. While it may sound hardy, the corn and tomatoes give it a nice lightness. Because it takes time to make it, I recommend you make enough to freeze at least two extra portions. The legume mix is available under the name "soup bean mix". Aside from beans it contains garbanzos, peas and lentils. Because the different legumes cook at a different rate, you end up with a nice thick base from the ones that cook down completely, plus chunks of beans from the slower cooking ones. It really is delicious! Try it hot or cold! The ingredients listed will make enough soup for 8 servings.





Bean Soup Mix

  • 2 coups of mixed dry soup bean mix (available at whole foods and berkeley bowl) 
  • 1 bundle of kale, de-stemmed and cut into large chunks
  • Corn from 4 ears of corn (remove kernels from cob) or 1 can
  • 2 cans of organic fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (Trader Joe's) or 4 cups of fresh tomatoes, cut to chunks and one small can of green chiles
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bouillon cubes (organic, non-msg) and 6 cups of water or  1.5 quarts of broth
  • Zest of two lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Rinse beans and soak over night, discharge soaking water before cooking them.
  2. Heat olive oil in a very large soup pot, add onions, garlic and cumin, saute for 4 minutes
  3. Add bean mix, saute for a few minutes
  4. Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water and add with 6 cups of water to pot OR add broth
  5. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 1 hour
  6. Add tomatoes and chiles, cover and simmer over low heat for  45 minutes
  7. Keep adding water throughout the cooking process to keep from burning on.
  8. Add carrots and lemon zest, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes
  9. Add kale, corn and cilantro, cover and simmer over low heat for another 15 minutes
  10. Cook until the largest of the beans are tender
  11. Garnish with fresh cilantro

The soup takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to cook.