This simple but delicious lentil and farro soup is one of my go-to soups. It contains both whole grains and legumes, which together provide a complete protein, as well as fiber, and lots of vegetables for added vitamins and anti-oxidants.
My favorite tomatoes to use in this soup are a combination of San Marzano whole tomatoes and diced fire roasted tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes have a low acidity and very rich flavor. That makes them ideal for tomato-rich dishes like this soup or for making tomato sauce. They are a bit more expensive but if you can afford them, well worth the extra $$. Fire roasted tomatoes add a nice touch of smokiness that is also welcome in this soup.
This being said, if all you have on hand is plain old diced or whole tomatoes, don’t let that stop you. It will still be delicious…
Farro is an ancient variety of wheat with a lovely nutty flavor. Most farro sold in grocery stores is pearled farro, which is not a whole grain. My recommendation is to look for hulled farro, that you can find in health food or specialty stores or online.
You can use another kind of leafy green than spinach. Swiss chard, rainbow chard, kale, are a few options. Some greens might need a little more cooking time than spinach. Just add them to the soup a little earlier or cook the soup a bit longer.
Canned tomatoes can be rather salty. To minimize added sodium, use low sodium vegetable broth. Add lemon juice once the soup is cooked, and taste before adding any salt and pepper. You may find it doesn’t need any. Lemon juice brightens any dish and reduces the need for salt.
Besides parsley, a few shavings of Parmesan cheese are delicious if you are not vegan. Pine nuts, a teaspoon of pesto, or fresh basil leaves would also pair very well.
I like to cook my grains in large batches and freeze them in individual serving containers. That comes in handy to throw in soups like this, or for any kind of quick meal.
I also freeze my soups, they make an easy grab-and-go or grab-and-stay meal. Here is what this batch looked like once portioned out and ready to freeze. Ten nice little containers!
Now go make your own!
Other recipes you might like:
Lentil and farro soup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large can San Marzano tomatoes, whole (28 oz can)
- 1 small can fire roasted tomatoes, diced (14 oz can)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1 cup cooked farro
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 3 cups fresh spinach chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- If using a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, drain the liquid into a bowl and reserve. Dice the tomatoes on a cutting board and add them to the reserved liquid.
- Chop onion, carrots and celery.
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring often until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Mince the garlic and add. Continue to cook a minute or two.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the last 3 (spinach, lemon juice and parsley) and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for about 25 minutes until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice. Save a tablespoon of parsley for garnish, stir the rest into the soup.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve topped with parsley and garnish of choice (fresh basil, Parmesan shavings, a teaspoon of pesto, pine nuts…)