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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. When the thermometer drops into freezing temps, it’s time for something rich and nutritious with substance in every slurp. Brrrrr to Yummm! Try this soup–you’ll love it as much as we do.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

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How to make farro and hearty greens soup:

Cook your farro first, following the cooking instructions on your package.

In your pressure cooker or Instant Pot, saute the leeks with the celery and garlic until the leeks have softened.

Add vegetable broth, spices, and chopped greens. Bring to pressure, then set the timer for just 3 minutes!

Stir in the cooked farro and chopped cilantro. Check for taste, adding more salt as needed.


What is farro?

Farro is an ancient hulled wheat originating in Italy–the grains resemble wheat or rye berries. Farro kernels bring a delicious toothy texture to this hearty soup and farro’s nutty grain flavor together with a leafy green makes a lovely marriage.

To cook farro:

Cooking time will depend on whether you use whole grain, semi-pearled or pearled farro. ***Using the Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker, cut the prescribed stovetop cooking time for pearled or semi-pearled farro by 2/3. As in, if the package says 30 minutes, only pressure cook for 10! (The first 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. With pearled farro, no more than 10 minutes under pressure with quick release is best.

What if you want to make this soup but you don’t have farro?

You can substitute another grain like barley. For a gluten-free version, substitute cooked brown rice.

One teaspoon of something acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar, will transform soups like this from meh to wow. In this recipe, instead of lemon juice or vinegar, the slightly astringent fruity taste of sumac spice does the acid-balance trick.

What is sumac?

Sumac (soo-mack) spice, a berry that grows wild in the Middle East, goes well with the paprika and cumin, and this spice trio marries well with 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 chopped preserved lemon.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup ingredient notes:

  • I used pearled farro for this recipe.
  • Cook your farro grains first, either in a pressure cooker or stovetop. Farro cooking time varies according to the type of farro you use. Just like for this soup, the pressure cooker saves a whole lot of time!
  • The 15 minutes of cooking time for this soup doesn’t include the time it takes to cook the farro first. If you cook the farro ahead of time, the day before or earlier in the day, your soup can be on the table in 30 minutes.
  • Inspired by recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen blog, I used sumac in this recipe. 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.
  • A dip in temperature is a beautiful thing for kale, mustard greens, collards, leeks, and chard, like the greens in this soup. Jack Frost does something chemically to bring out the sugars, making them sweeter, less bitter from the cold.
Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

How to make this soup without a pressure cooker–regular stovetop cooking: 

First cook the farro according to the directions on the package, set aside.

For the soup, sauté the leeks, celery, and garlic 5 or 6 minutes. Add the broth, paprika, cumin, and sumac. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped greens and cook another 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and pre-cooked farro and heat through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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 the cold weather—make hearty greens and farro soup!

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

Did you know you can freeze kale for later? Like in the garden, freezing actually enhances kale’s flavor. Great if you can’t use your kale right away. Simply strip away the stems and freeze whole or chopped.

Updated and edited from the Farro and Hearty Greens Soup recipe I posted here back in 2014!


  • 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.

    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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