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Instant Pot Farro and Hearty Greens Soup [vegan]

This savory farro and hearty greens soup is a delicious cold weather favorite at our house. One fall day, when the thermometer dropped into freezing temps, I declared “I’m making soup, something rich and nutritious, with substance in every slurp.” This is the happy result and I’m betting you will love it as much as we do.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

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A dip in temperature is a beautiful thing for mustard greens, collards, leeks, and chard, the mix of greens in this soup–Jack Frost does something chemically to bring out the sugars, making them sweeter, less bitter from the cold. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard that freezing kale (if you can’t use it right away, for example) improves its flavor. This week our farm share box included a mix of frost-sweetened mixed greens—into the soup they went.

greens for Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

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Farro kernels (affiliate link) have been waiting in our pantry for a purpose like farro and hearty greens soup. Pairing their toothsome texture and nutty grain flavor with greens—perfect. Robbie loves the pleasingly chewy way the little nuggets of farro work on his tongue.

Cook your farro first, following the cooking instructions on your package. ***With the Instant Pot pressure cooker, cook only 1/3 of the prescribed stovetop cooking time for pearled or semi-pearled farro! (One time I cooked pearled farro for this soup, 12 minutes in the pressure cooker was too long–the farro came out more like oatmeal. It was fine in the soup, just a bit soft. 10 minutes and quick release the pressure is better with pearled farro.

With grains resembling wheat or rye berries, farro is an ancient hulled wheat originating in Italy. Cooking time will depend on which farro you use, whole grain, semi-pearled or pearled. (affiliate links)

I love the chewier texture, and nutty flavor of whole grain farro, though semi-pearled and pearled farro take less time to cook. The whole grain farro cooks into a soft kernel in almost 45 minutes in a pressure cooker, and more than 2 ½ hours regular stovetop! Imho totally worth it.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

Just one teaspoon of something acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar, transforms soup from satisfactory to mouthwatering. Sumac’s fruity, slightly astringent taste does the acid-balance trick instead of lemon juice or vinegar.

Sumac (soo-mack) spice, a berry that grows wild in the Middle East, balances the paprika and cumin as well, and nicely marries together the broth, farro, and hearty greens.

What if I don’t have sumac?

  • You can substitute 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
  • and/or 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning.
  • If you have preserved lemon, add a tablespoon of that.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

Our family of two dined on farro and greens soup two nights in a row. For lunch one of those days, I stirred a generous spoonful of goat cheese into the hot broth. Cheese is not in the ingredient list for this soup and if you’re not dairy-free, a dollop of goat cheese is a vibrant addition!

Take advantage of fall and winter weather—make hearty greens and farro soup.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup kitchen notes:

  • I use whole grain emmer farro, which takes about 40 minutes in the pressure cooker. Pearled or semi-pearled farro have some of the bran removed, so they cook faster. (You can speed up whole grain farro cooking time by soaking the grains overnight. Test in 25 minutes to see if the grain is tender to your bite.)
  • You will find sumac a tasty seasoning.  Inspired by recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen blog, I’d bought a jar. I found it at Whole Foods, nestled in alphabetical order, in with all the other spices.  You can buy sumac online through my Amazon link.


Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen, try cooking with an ingredient new to you!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you for supporting Letty’s Kitchen!

5 comments

  • Molive

    Hey Letty…

    I thought i would check out your blog.. You have some nice real cooking going on here.

    I look forward to checking out more of your wonderful recipes.

    Cheers
    Molive (Photography) Reply · 7 October, 2014

    • Letty

      Hi Molive–Thanks for checking out the blog. I love my readers! Reply · 14 October, 2014

  • Has anybody ever told you it doesn’t have to be below freezing to eat soup? There must be something about cold climes. But I’m too silly to see them. GREG Reply · 13 October, 2014

  • Jessie Paul

    I really enjoyed this soup. It was both the first time I had used farro and the first time for sumac! Great flavor and satisfying. I wish I lived close enough to Ranui CSA, but I make due with Harmon’s and my garden (in the summer!) Thanks and I’ll be trying more of your recipes! Reply · 24 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks for the note Jessie. I love that soup and so happy you like the sumac. Reply · 25 November, 2014

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