Zuppa di Farro in the Instant Pot is a delicious Tuscan farro soup with beans that's incredibly nutritious and easy to make. It's infused with Mediterranean flavours and great on its own or with a chunk of crusty bread for a filling meal.
As you may have gathered by now, I'm a massive soup lover, and recipes that mix grains with veggies to create hearty soups are my jam.
So it's no wonder I love zuppa di farro so much. It blends some of my favourite things like potatoes, kale, and fresh Italian herbs with farro, an ancient grain that's often mistaken for spelt, but it's not quite the same thing.
Since farro takes a bit longer to cook than other grains such as pearl barley, I make this soup in the Instant Pot and the texture is always great.
If you don't have an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker, don't worry. I also included stovetop instructions below.
What is farro?
Farro has been a staple of Italian cuisine for centuries, but its history can be traced back to Mesopotamia. It's a whole grain with a nutty flavour that remains slightly chewy after cooking.
Farro is a whole grain, which means it's packed full of nutrients. It's an excellent source of fiber and a source of plant-based protein. These are all words a vegan wants to hear, right?
Moreover, farro is a source of magnesium, iron and antioxidants. It also has a low glycemic index, which makes it a great alternative to refined carbohydrates.
What kind of farro is best for this soup?
There are multiple types of faro to choose from and cooking times can vary from one type to another.
Pearled farro is the most common type you can find in supermarkets and has the shortest cooking time. You don't have to pre-soak pearled farro, but you can reduce cooking time by soaking it for 4-8 hours in cold water. This is the kind I use for this Instant Pot farro soup.
Whole farro, on the other hand, has the most nutrients because the grain is still intact. The flavour is stronger, too, but the problem is it takes 30-40 minutes to cook after soaking the grains overnight.
Ingredients and substitutions
Besides farro, this soup contains shallots, carrots, celery and kale, but you can adapt it to add any other veggies and pulses you like.
Some ideas include:
- Courgettes (zucchini)
- Cannellini beans (or any other white beans)
- Diced tomatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Red bell pepper
I use fresh herbs to make this Tuscan farro soup, but you can use 1 tablespoon Italian herbs mix instead or your favourite combination of dried herbs, such as oregano, basil, rosemary, sage and marjoram.
How do you make zuppa di farro in the Instant Pot?
- Set the Instant Pot to "Saute" and add the oil, shallots, carrot and celery. Cook, occasionally stirring, until slightly softened, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, potatoes, farro and stock and stir to combine.
- Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot at High Pressure for 6 or 10 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the farro to be. If you soaked it and you want it al dente, 6 minutes is enough. If you want it very soft, go for 10 minutes.
- When the cooking is finished, carefully release the pressure by turning the steam valve to the venting position.
- Set the Instant Pot to "Saute" again and add the kale. Cook for 2-3 minutes with the lid on until the kale has wilted.
- Season to taste and serve garnished with parsley if you like.
Make zuppa di farro soup on the stovetop
If you don't have an Instant Pot, don't worry — it's super easy to make farro soup on the stovetop, too. You'll have to cook the farro separately, though.
That's because you'll need to cook it longer than the potatoes and other veggies you may want to add.
Here's how to do it.
- Place the farro and 750 ml (3 cups) water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Then lower the heat to low-medium and simmer for 25 minutes until the farro is al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and saute the shallots, carrot and celery for 5 minutes until they soften slightly.
- Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Stir the cooked farro and kale and continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes with a lid on until the kale has wilted. Season to taste and serve with some crusty bread.
Recipe notes and tips
- Minestra di farro tastes great with a dollop of pesto on top. Make sure you use a vegan one, though, as most of the shop-bought pesto has parmesan in it.
- You can batch cook farro and freeze it for up to three months. Frozen farro thaws quickly in the fridge, and you can use it for other soups or salads.
- The soup will keep well in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. You may need to add a bit of extra stock or water if it looks too thick when you reheat it.
- You can use baby spinach instead of kale, but remember that it only takes a minute for spinach to wilt.
If you liked this zuppa di farro recipe, you might also like some of my other easy vegan soups:
- Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)
- Easy Three Bean Soup
- Adzuki Beans Soup with Pearl Barley and Kale
- Vegan Italian White Bean Soup
- Cannellini Bean and Cavolo Nero Soup