I love soups in the winter – they are so comforting, and can also be so nourishing when prepared at home! Store-bought soups are often too salty and loaded with flavorings, questionable meats, and refined carbs that do not contribute anything to our health. But at home, if you can chop a few veggies and throw them into a hot pot, you can make delicious, wholesome soups! This one in particular is a powerhouse, with enough protein, veggies, and whole grains to be a complete meal. It’s basically chicken soup that’s been kicked up a notch, but the spices give it so much warmth and depth, and it’s such an easy way to boost your leafy green intake. It’s great straight out of the pot, but also holds up for a few days in the fridge and can even be frozen – I freeze single portions in mason jars for easy lunches anytime. And if you are a vegetarian, keep reading – this soup can be modified very easily! I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!
Kale Soup with Farro
adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. ground turmeric
8 cups homemade or prepared chicken stock (go for boxes over cans, and read ingredient lists carefully if you’re buying in the store! Sub veggie stock for vegetarian version)
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces (any kind, though lacinto/dinosaur kale cooks faster)
2 cups cooked farro* (brown rice or quinoa will also work and are good gluten-free substitutions)
1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces, or cooked/canned chickpeas (if you made your own chicken stock, this is the perfect use for some of the resulting meat)
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Heat a heavy medium-sized soup pot on medium-low. Add the olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots and saute just until they veggies are starting to soften. (This is a good time to chop the kale.) Add the thyme, sage, and turmeric and saute 1-2 minutes more.
Add the chicken/veggie stock and bring to a simmer. Add chopped kale and simmer until very tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. Add the chopped chicken or chickpeas, plus your grain, and simmer a few more minutes until completely heated through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You can also add a little more water or broth at this point if the soup is thicker than you’d prefer.
*Cook large batches of grains and freeze in 2 cup portions to make them easy to add to soups or other recipes.