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Farro and Hearty Greens Soup [vegan]

One bleary-eyed glance at the thermometer earlier this week sent me straight to the kitchen. Brrrrrr—below freezing. “I’m making soup, something rich and nutritious, with substance in every slurp.” This savory farro and hearty greens soup is a delicious cold weather favorite at our house—I’m betting you will love it as much as we do.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

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. Our Ranui CSA box this week included a mix of frost-sweetened mixed greens—into the soup they went.

greens for Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

Farro kernels in our pantry had been waiting 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.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup

Just one teaspoon of an acidic edible, like lemon juice or vinegar, can transform soup from satisfactory to mouthwatering. Sumac’s fruity, slightly astringent taste does exactly that. Sumac (soo-mack) is a new-to-me spice, a berry that grows wild in the Middle East—I’m amazed how it balances the paprika and cumin, and ties the broth, farro and hearty greens together.

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—I’m telling you right now that a dollop of goat cheese makes this soup even more vibrant!

It seems my Indian summer wish is coming true—sunny days and cool nights. Take advantage of it—make hearty greens and farro soup.

Farro and Hearty Greens Soup kitchen notes:

  • Farro is the Italian word for ancient hulled wheat, and the grains resemble wheat and rye berries. Cooking times depend on which farro you use—whole grain, semi pearled or pearled—follow the instructions on the package.
  • I use whole grain emmer farro. It takes forever to cook into a soft kernel–45 minutes in a pressure cooker, translating to more than 2 ½ hours regular stovetop!
  • For speedier cooking without a pressure cooker, soak whole grain farro overnight, or choose semi-pearled or pearled farro, which have some of the bran removed.
  • To make the soup itself, I used my pressure cooker: Bring the soup to pressure and cook 3 minutes. Release the pressure by running cold water over the top. Stir in the farro and cilantro, reheat and eat.
  • This is our first date, sumac and I, but we will be seasoning together again. I’d recently bought some, but it was Kalyn’s Kitchen and all her recipes with sumac that inspired me to finally use some! I found sumac in with all the other spices at the grocery store. You can buy it online through my Amazon link.

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Farro and Hearty Greens Soup
Farro and Hearty Greens Soup [vegan]
This soup is so delicious you will be serving it over and over –especially when the thermometer dips below freezing! Everything comes together in a jiffy if your farro is already cooked.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks , halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise into half-moons
  • 2 ribs celery and leaves , chopped in ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1 bunch mixed greens , such as kale, mustard greens, chard, and/or collards
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 cups cooked farro (about 1 cup uncooked) (see note)
  • Real Salt , as needed
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil until it is shimmering. Add leeks and celery and sauté until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable broth. Stir in the paprika, cumin, and sumac. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, strip the leaves from the stems of the greens, discarding the stems. Coarsely chop into ½-inch to 1-inch pieces.
  4. Stir the chopped greens into the broth, cover and cook about 10 minutes, until the leaves are very tender. (see note)
  5. Stir in the chopped cilantro and the cooked farro.
  6. Taste and add salt, if needed.
Recipe Notes
  • I cooked my farro the day before—so it was ready when I was.
  • Cook more than you need for this recipe and freeze the rest. Add it to salads or soup for the wonderful toothy texture.


  • 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

  • […] I introduced myself, and you, to Aleppo pepper, by way of this recipe for garlic and rice soup. And this warming fall soup instigated an adventure with fruity tangy sumac. Today we’re getting into dukkah. It’s a […] Reply · 15 November, 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

  • […] Farro and Hearty Greens Soup: Finally, from Letty’s Kitchen, this savory farro and hearty greens soup is a delicious cold weather favorite of Letty’s family, and she’s betting that you’ll love it as much as they do. […] Reply · 19 October, 2017

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