Italian Farro Vegetable Soup
Vegetable soup! A hearty Italian vegetable soup loaded with veggies, farro, white beans and kale. This easy vegetable soup has been tested on the stovetop and the Instant Pot.
Soup weather has finally arrived here, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I love making big pots of soup because it’s always been such an easy way to get my family to eat more veggies. I’ve shared many, many vegetable soups recipes here before, like our Instant Pot Minestrone, Slow Cooker Minestrone, Instant Pot Lentil Soup, Vegan Zuppa Toscana, Chickpea Vegetable Soup, Mexican Lentil Soup, and Mushroom Lentil Soup.
Since there’s always room for more vegetable soup ideas, I wanted to share this Tuscan-inspired vegetable soup with you. This hearty vegetable soup has plenty of veggies, kale, and white beans. The addition of farro, an ancient Italian grain I’ll be talking more about soon, makes this soup extra filling. Here’s how to make it! You’ll notice the still images show how to make this recipe on the stovetop, while the video shows the Instant Pot.
Italian Vegetable Soup Ingredients
I’ve used classic Tuscan/Italian vegetables and herbs for this soup. It’s a lot like minestrone.
- Thyme (rosemary is another nice addition)
- Red pepper flakes (or black pepper)
- Diced tomatoes
- Vegetable broth
- Farro (semiperlato)
- White beans
I’m working on a comprehensive article all about farro (like our chickpea, lentil, quinoa, tempeh, and tofu articles), but the short version is that farro is an ancient grain that has been popular in Italy since ancient Rome. I have lived and spent quite a bit of time in the Florence area of Tuscany, and have found that most cafes have some version of a simple farro salad on the menu. I have my own farro salad recipe here.
Farro can add heartiness to soups and salads, and can be used in place of rice in some dishes like risotto. It’s a higher protein grain (7 grams per serving), with fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. When combined with legumes (white beans in this soup recipe), it creates a complete protein. I love Farro in this Italian vegetable soup because it really makes it much heartier and more filling. Farro does have gluten, so if you’re allergic it’s best to avoid this grain and swap it out for something like quinoa or rice.
The most common type of farro you’ll find in the grocery store is semiperlato (semi-pearled), which means the bran and germ of the grain have been removed for quicker cooking. The brand I used when creating this recipe is Pereg, which I got at World Market. It cooks in about 20 minutes. Although you could technically cook the farro right in the soup, though you’d need more liquid, I prefer to cook it separately (unless using the Instant Pot) and then add it in. This way I can control how cooked the farro gets. I cook it in a small saucpan while I’m working on the soup, so it’s still very easy and doesn’t take any extra time.
How to Make Vegetable Soup
This Italian vegetable soup begins the same way I almost always make soup, with a saute of onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and herbs. I used my new Staub 5 qt. Cocotte pot.
I add zucchini after the harder veggies have started to soften because I just can’t stand mushy zucchini.
Next the tomatoes, broth, and white beans are added and the whole thing simmers until all the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.
Just before serving, add the cooked farro and a few big handfuls of kale (or baby spinach). Stir in with your ladle and it will wilt quickly. I love adding tons of dark leafy greens to soups, especially if I’m not in the mood for salad. This is a lot like our White Bean and Kale Soup. Of course, Green Smoothies are another great solution to those anti-salad phases.
Serving Homemade Vegetable Soup
Serve your homemade Italian vegetable soup right away, or let it cool completely at room temperature before storing in an airtight container (I like quart-sized jars) in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this soup, but if freezing in a glass container, be sure to leave about an inch of headspace for expansion.
I like to add a little more salt and freshly ground black pepper to my homemade veggie soup. Nutritional yeast or Parmesan are also tasty additions. This Italian soup is great on its own, or served alongside a Caesar salad, or if you’re feeling ambitious, homemade pizza dough pizza with homemade pizza sauce. For a quick and easy accompaniment, try the Best Garlic Bread, Avocado Toast or this easy Heirloom Tomato Pesto Pizza.
- 2/3 cup uncooked farro
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 5 sage leaves, chopped
- leaves from 3 thyme sprigs, chopped
- 32 oz. vegetable broth
- 15 oz. diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (15 oz. can) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 cups chopped kale
Stovetop Italian Vegetable Soup
- Rinse the farro several times until water runs clear, then drain. Place the farro and 3 cups water in a small saucepan and set over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until al dente, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until they begin to soften and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, zucchini, and herbs, and saute another minute longer.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a simmer. Simmer until all the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain farro once it is cooked al dente, and stir into the soup. Stir in the kale.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Instant Pot Italian Vegetable Soup
- Rinse the farro several times until the water runs clear. Set aside.
- Select saute (high) on the Instant Pot. Add the oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and saute until they begin to soften and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, zucchini,and herbs, and saute another minute longer.
- Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and rinsed farro and stir to combine.
- Lock the lid, with valve set to sealing. Set to high pressure cook (manual mode) for 5 minutes. It will take approximately 15 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure before the clock begins to count down.
- When the cook time is complete, immediately and carefully quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid. Check that the veggies and farro are tender. If not, select saute and simmer until done. Stir in the kale to wilt.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
1. Farro is a typical Italian ancient grain that adds nutty heartiness to this vegetable soup. It is not gluten-free, so if you have a gluten allergy, please omit the farro, or replace with quinoa.
2. If you find your soup needs more flavor after cooking, add more salt and freshly ground black pepper, fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, or Parmesan to taste. A little dollop of pesto is also a tasty addition.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1144mg Carbohydrates: 43g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 13g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 9g