Summer vegan vegetable soup with farro, cannellini beans, asparagus, and yellow wax beans, topped with nutritional yeast (or optional Parmesan cheese). (Vegan!)
Do you have recipes that have been in a pile for-like-ever that you keep meaning to make, but then a bazillion things get piled on top, and you forget all about them? Until you’re finally cleaning your desk, or weeding out your computer files, and eureka! you spy a forgotten recipe you’d tucked away, and you instantly know that’s exactly what you want to make right now and wonder why on earth you hadn’t made it before this?
This soup is one of those recipes.
Over three years ago, our step-daughter Robin emailed a few of us the recipe for a Spring Farro Soup she’d made that night. It looked like my kind of soup, so I promptly saved the email in the black hole of my email file directory called Recipes. A close friend long ago sold me on the idea of having a fewer number of files covering broad categories, instead of lots of files of sub-categories. It was a tip from a book on getting organized. But, being a bit of a cooking enthusiast, roughly 500 other emails soon joined Robin’s in Recipes, completely obliterating it in the cacophony of squash purees, berry grunts, and someone’s 20 favorite party appetizers for the holidays.
Until last week.
Last Friday, as I hunted everywhere for a completely different recipe, which I ultimately found, I tripped over Robin’s long ago email in a moment of soup trifecta. 1) We were in the mountains with evening temperatures dipping into the 40’s, 2) I had a sore throat, and 3) was feeling a little sorry for myself. Really, what better time is there for soup?
I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand that it called for, and had zero interest in trekking over to the market even though it’s literally on the other side of the fence of our gated condo complex. But one of the best things about soup is how it accommodates so well to what you do have. For example, as a woman who prefers freshly cooked beans (since I eat a lot of beans), I used some cannellini beans I’d made a few days before instead of the garbanzo beans in Robin’s recipe, although I love garbanzos. I unearthed some asparagus spears in a plastic bag that I threw in instead of zucchini, and a little jalapeño left over from my Jalapeño Cornbread Poppers, just because. But with all the changes, I stayed true to the farro, bean, vegetable holy trinity and don’t think the soup suffered from my tweaks.
So go dig around in your refrigerator and make this soup. I promise you won’t regret it. Don’t wait for a cold night. Don’t wait until you need solace. And don’t wait three and a half years to make it like I did.
* To make this soup vegan, substitute Nutritional Yeast for the Parmesan cheese.
- 1 cup farro grain
- 2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¾ cup diced celery
- 1 cup thinly sliced leek
- ¼ cup minced jalapeño
- 1 tsp minced garlic (1 large clove)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- few grinds black pepper
- 2 qts vegetable stock
- 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans
- 3 cups yellow wax beans sliced into 1" lengths
- 1 cup asparagus sliced into 1" lengths
- knob Parmesan cheese (1" piece) (eliminate for vegan)
- 1 Tbsp sherry
- shredded Parmesan for topping (or Nutritional Yeast for vegan)
- good olive oil for drizzle
- Bring the water to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the farro grain, cover, and lightly simmer until al dente - about 30 minutes. You should end up with about 2 cup cooked farro. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the celery, leeks, and jalapeño until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté for an additional minute or two, until very fragrant.
- Add stock, farro (with any residual liquid), beans, asparagus, and knob of Parmesan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the sherry.
- Ladle into bowls and top with olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and Parmesan and serve with thick slices of bread with a lather of butter.
- Calories: 171
- Fat: 3 grams (Saturated: .3 grams)
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Potassium: 177 mg
- Sodium: 1182 mg
- Carbs: 35 grams
- Protein: 7 grams