Farro and Chickpea Soup – Recipe

Farro Chickpea Soup
Farro and Chickpea Soup

Things this soup will not do: Win any beauty contests.

Things this soup will do: Warm you to your core on a cold day. Nourish you. Fill your belly. Leave you with an abiding sense of contentment. Wash and fold your clothes.

This is a tradeoff I can live with.

I haven’t been completely sold on the farro revolution. I like the flavor, but I find that the chewy texture becomes bothersome after awhile when served as a basic grain side dish or in a risotto-style presentation. I’m digging it in this soup though. It doesn’t fall apart in the broth. It makes the soup feel substantial, bordering on a stew that can be a one-pot meal.

The farro I used is from my friend Tim’s store, ChefShop.com. Click over to that link and read the whole story about how it is grown in Eastern Washington by a family farmer,¬†Lena Lentz Hardt, who was able to jump off the treadmill of industrial crop pricing for commodity wheat by growing this very special, organic grain.

Needless to say, you can vary this soup by switching in a different bean for the chickpeas (cannellini would be very Italian), or a different green for the mustard greens. Any kind of kale would be very appropriate. I probably wouldn’t use spinach, as the more delicate texture might not hold up to the farro.

Farro and Chickpea Soup
Vegetarian, vegan, and kosher
Serves 4
1 hour total (15 minutes active) 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 bunch mustard green, stems removed and cut into 1″ ribbons
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 1 cup fully cooked chickpeas
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Parsley
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. In a large pot with a lid, or a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, celery, garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the mustard greens and cook for a couple of minutes until they have begun to soften. Add the farro and 4 cups water. Cover and simmer until the farro is tender but still a bit chewy, about 50 minutes (or if using a pressure cooker, 32 minutes at high pressure followed by a quick pressure release.)
  3. Remove the lid and add the chickpeas and lemon juice. Stir and simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld, then taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. To serve, divide among bowls, garnish with more good olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, parsley and sea salt.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, December 12th, 2011 in Kid Friendly, Recipes, Soups.

10 Responses to “Farro and Chickpea Soup – Recipe”

  1. December 13, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    This soup looks hearty and satisfying. I’ve never had farro before but it looks very healthy.

  2. December 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    I still think it’s pretty. :) i love any soup w beans n greens. :) i like the new look of the site by the way.

  3. Sabrina
    December 14, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Michael,

    What does farro taste like and is it available at most super markets?

    • December 14, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Hey Sabrina – farro has somewhat of a nutty, wheaty flavor. It is an ancient grain closely related to wheat. Stores like Whole Foods will have it but probably not an average grocery. You can also order it online; there is a link in the article.

  4. Kate Ellington
    November 2, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    How much is your one bunch of mustard greens? I bought some for the first time yesterday, but they aren’t attached to anything and I have no idea if the “bunch” I bought (rubber-banded together) is anywhere near the size of yours. Can you give me a weight or cup size?

    • November 2, 2012 at 7:55 am #

      Hi Kate –

      That’s a fair request, but I don’t have a bunch in my house right now to weigh for you. The good news is, this isn’t the kind of recipe that requires great precision to be delicious, so I think if you just use the rubber-banded bunch you bought, you should be just fine. Let me know how you like it!

  5. Kate Ellington
    November 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Michael,

    Thanks for the reply. I ended up using half the bunch but probably could have used more. And I messed up a few times along the way but, you’re right, it was delicious regardless. Oh, and I added sauteed sliced button mushrooms because I have a thing for mushrooms in soup. Anyway, thanks for such a fabulous recipe! It’s going on the regular winter soup rounds. :)

  6. Liz
    December 9, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    I’m not a farro fan, but I like this recipe. You cook the farro for longer than I’ve read elsewhere (15-30 mins. is what I’ve read, you did 50 mins.). Any reason? Also, I didn’t have mustard greens, so used Lacinto kale; and cannelini for chick peas. Going for the Italian feel. Also added a little cabbage, shallots. Perfect December dinner soup. Thanks for posting.

    • December 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Well, two things about the cooking time for farro: (1) it can vary a lot depending on whether it is whole grain or semi-pearled, and (2) I like it as tender as I can get it. I’m just not a big fan of really chewy grains. My personal take I guess. Your choices for the greens and beans sounds great!

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