Tuscan Bean Soup With Farro & Swiss Chard
(nutrition facts not available)
Recipe is courtesy of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Garden to Table Cooking – a recent publication with over 75 of his collected favorites!
White beans or cannelini are an especially good source of fiber. They are a close relative of the dark red kidney beans – both hold their shape and absorb flavors extremely well, making them an excellent choice for soups such as this one, and stews.
This version of a classic main-dish soup from Tuscany makes use of canned white beans to save time. You can use Tuscan kale in place of chard if you wish. I like to serve this with extra grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes on the side as well as a cruet of very flavorful olive oil for your guests to drizzle over the soup.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
½ teaspoon plus a pinch of sea salt
4 cloves garlic, pressed and allowed to sit for 10 minutes
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
1 Turkish bay leaf or ⅓ of a California bay leaf
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and juices reserved
8 cups vegetable broth
¾ cup cooked farro
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 30 seconds. Push the onions and garlic to the side and sauté the tomato paste for about 1 minute. Add the chard stems, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf, stirring to combine.
- Pour in the reserved tomato juice to deglaze the pot and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, stock, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the farro and beans. Cook for another 3 minutes, until the beans and farro are heated through.
- Stir in the chard leaves, parsley, oregano, and lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning with black pepper and another pinch or two of salt, if needed, and garnish each bowl with a generous shaving of Parmesan cheese.
Excerpted from Fast Food, Good Food, copyright © 2015 by Dr. Andrew Weil. Photography courtesy of Ditte Isager. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved.