Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

farro and kale soup

~ Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup with Parmigiano ~

Autumn in a bowl sums up this nourishing soup. Sweet butternut squash and sturdy kale team up with farro, an ancient Italian wheat grain, known as spelt in English. Farro is a hulled wheat, which means it retains its husk during harvest. The husk serves as a protective cloak, preserving nutrients and protecting the kernel from insects and pollutants, which permits the grower to avoid pesticides. Rich in protein, fiber and B vitamins, farro has a satisfying nutty flavor which adds heft with health to soups and stews.  The final touch in this warming soup is a chunk of Parmigiano cheese, which is nestled into the simmering stock, breaking down and releasing umami flavor while thickening the soup.

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

Barley may be substituted for the farro. Serves 6-8.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, green parts discarded, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup farro
6 cups chicken stock, plus additional stock as necessary
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1  (2-inch) chunk of Parmesan rind
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shredded kale leave
Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add leek, garlic, onion and celery. Sauté 2 minutes. Add butternut squash and farro. Sauté one minute. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, cheese chunk, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until squash is tender and farro is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning. Stir in kale leaves; simmer until kale brightens in color and just wilts, about one minute. Ladle into bowls and grate cheese over the soup. Serve immediately.

25 thoughts on “Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

  1. It’s definitely fall weather in Toronto. This soup looks delicious, butternut squash is my favourite of all the squashes, and the kale provides a lovely texture in the soup.

  2. Love the idea of placing a chunk of parmesan into the pot. Great textures and flavors at play here, and don’t even get me started on farro.

  3. I always throw the rind of a hunk of parmesan cheese in my soups as they cook – it’s amazing the subtle parmesan flavor that it imparts! I love both kale and farro, so will definitely make this one soon!! This time of year, I always have soup in the refrigerator!

  4. I’m eating this for dinner as I write this. It’s a make again recipe for sure. I’d never heard of the Parmesan rind thing before, but it makes a huge difference! And that hunk of rind at the bottom of my dish was a treasure.

  5. I had to laugh; out of all the comments here it was the last one that actually *made* this soup. Well, I figured I’d add another comment from someone who made this soup. It is terrific. I’m really enjoying it. The only thing I did differently is omit the leeks (merely because I forgot to put them on the grocery list) and add about 1/3 c quinoa about 15 min. into the simmering process. Just figured, Why not? It came out delicious. Thanks.

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