Vegan Zuppa di Farro
Vegan Zuppa di Farro, a simple soup made with farro, borlotti beans, crushed tomatoes, vegetables, and fresh herbs. A plant-based twist on the traditional Italian soup!
Do you love farro? We do too! One of the Italian's simple peasant dishes is zuppa di farro (which translates literally to farro soup), a simple farro and bean soup with tomatoes, vegetables, and herbs.
It's possible to find zuppa di farro soup mixes, but this recipe shows you how to make it from scratch with dried farro and barlotti beans.
👉 Here are three reasons why you should be making traditional zuppa di farro:
- It's a great pantry meal. Zuppa di farro is an excellent pantry-staple meal that uses dried and canned ingredients, as well as shelf-stable vegetables like onions and carrots. You can also substitute fresh herbs for dried—it's as easy as that!
- It's meal prep friendly. This is a great recipe to make once and eat all week. Make a big pot of zuppa di farro and save in the refrigerator for up to four days for work lunches, or freeze for a month (or even more) and pull out to reheat on busy weeknights.
- It's delicious! Between the fresh herbs, tasty borlotti beans, cooked vegetables, and nutty farro you won't be able to get enough of this soup!
Want the simple from-scratch one-pot Vegan Zuppa di Farro recipe? Let's do it!
🇮🇹 How is Zuppa di Farro traditionally made?
Zuppa di Farro is a traditional Italian farro and barlotti beans recipe that hails from Lucca, a small town in Tuscany that is northeast of Pisa. It's a hearty soup that is typically served in the winter months and is considered a “peasant's dish” because of its use of dried beans and grains.
Traditionally zuppa di farro is made by cooking pancetta with farro, barlotti beans, crushed tomatoes, onions, carrots, and herbs, and topping with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese.
However, because we wanted to keep things plant-based we made sure to kick up the flavor we lost from the pancetta and cheese with a blend of both thyme and sage. We topped it off with a bit of garlic-infused oil instead of the traditional olive oil drizzle.
The result? A flavorful, thick, and hearty soup that's a perfect cozy Italian comfort food!
🌾 Ingredients you'll need
The best part about this Zuppa di Farro is that it features ingredients you might already have in your fridge or pantry! Here's what you'll need:
- Veggies: you'll need a mirepoix of chopped onions, carrots, and celery.
- Borlotti beans: sometimes referred to as cranberry beans, traditional Zuppa di Farro uses borlotti beans, which have a pinkish-brown color when cooked. You can also use kidney beans or pinto beans.
- Farro: farro is a great whole grain for soups because the small wheat kernel soaks up the flavors of the soup and lends a nice nuttiness and chewy texture.
- Crushed tomatoes: for an extra flavor burst.
- Vegetable stock: to give the soup the right consistency and amount of liquid.
- Seasoning: we used bay leaves, thyme, sage leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper—the best flavor combination.
- Optional: drizzled garlic oil
- Recommended tools: knife set, large soup pot, dutch oven
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Sauté veggies in a soup pot
Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook until soft, about five minutes.
2️⃣ Step Two: Add remaining ingredients + simmer the soup
Next, add borlotti beans, farro, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable stock to the pot with the vegetables. Then mix in bay leaves, a bit of thyme and sage, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together and bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 40 minutes.
3️⃣ Step Three: Puree the soup mixture + serve
After soup is done cooking, use an immersion blender to puree about half of the soup mixture. The soup should be halfway blended and slightly thickened, but still a soupy texture.
To serve, add a few sage leaves and a drizzle of garlic-infused oil (optional) and enjoy!
❓ Recipe questions + quick tips
Pancetta is a key ingredient in traditional zuppa di farro, and it is typically topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, which are not plant-based ingredients. To make this recipe vegan, we simply left the pancetta and cheese out of the recipe. We added extra seasonings like thyme and sage to make up for the lost flavor!
We've found borlotti beans at our local grocery store in the dried beans section. However, you can also order them online. Here is a good brand of Italian barlotti beans and here is a bigger bag of Colombian cranberry beans that are less expensive (both will work in this recipe). Note that some stores do sell pre-made zuppa di farro grain and dried bean mixes in the soup section.
Borlotti beans are a versatile legume, known for their colorful appearance and creamy texture. They make a great addition to soups, casseroles, side dishes, and even salads. You can pair them with just about any spice or seasoning, and serve them alongside a variety of dishes. Borlotti beans are a source of plant-based protein, fiber, and provide vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium.
🌿 How to serve
This plant-based zuppa di farro is absolutely delicious on its own, but here are our suggestions to take it to the next level:
- Mix up the herbs: This soup tastes great with a variety of flavor combinations. We've tried it with thyme, sage, rosemary, and oregano—use what you have on hand, it's sure to be delicious!
- Pair with a baguette. Round out this soup by enjoying it with half of a homemade baguette, or mix in a handful Homemade Rye Bread Croutons.
🧊 How to store
We love this recipe because of how easy it is to store! Whether you keep it in the fridge or freezer, here's how to store zuppa di farro for the best quality:
- Refrigerator storage: place the soup in a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- Freezer storage: As long as it's kept in a freezer-safe container, this soup can be kept frozen for up to one month.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips
Sustainability is our first priority here at Fork in the Road. Here are some suggestions to make this recipe as eco-friendly as possible:
Repurpose veggie scraps. Any scraps that you accumulate from the carrots, celery, and onion can be used to make homemade veggie broth—a great way to get as much flavor as possible out of your produce!
Reuse and recycle. Whether you have bottles, cans, or boxes leftover from the tomatoes, farro, or beans: make sure to dispose of them properly (or reuse them, if you can!).
Make a big batch and freeze. To prevent extra trips to the store, buy zuppa di farro ingredients in bulk and make a batch of it. That way, you'll have soup on hand for quick lunches and dinners!
🍜 More vegan soup recipes
Can't get enough of soups? Check out our other plant-based soup recipes, like:
- Red Beet Apple Soup
- Spicy Butternut Squash Chili
- Spicy Sweet Potato Carrot Soup
- Roasted Tomato Leek Soup
- Red Beet Apple Soup
Vegan Zuppa di Farro
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 15-oz can borlotti beans, drained
- 1-1/2 cups farro
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 3-4 sage leaves
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Optional: drizzled garlic oi
- Cook vegetables: In a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Simmer soup: When vegetables are soft add beans, farro, crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaves, thyme, sage, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Mix well and turn up heat to bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 40 minutes.
- Blend soup: After soup is done cooking, use an immersion blender to puree about half of soup mixture. Soup should be halfway blended and slightly thickened, but still a soupy liquid text.
- To serve: Drizzle with garlic oil (optional) and garnish with a bay leaf
- Recipe notes: Instead of buying beans and farro separately, you can also purchase a dried zuppa di farro blend made of farro, beans, and sometimes other grains and peas. If so, you may need a bit more vegetable stock and will likely need to add about 10 minutes to the total cook time to ensure that beans are cooked throughout.
- Tools needed: knife set, large soup pot, dutch oven
- Prep ahead: cut vegetables ahead of time to reduce prep time
- Leftovers + storage: this zuppa di farro soup can be cooled and then refrigerated for up to four day, or frozen for a month or more in glass food storage containers
- Nutrition notes: nutrition information calculated for one serving, without optional garlic oil drizzle. This recipe is a vegan soup that is high in plant-based protein, fiber, and vitamin A.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in January 2019 and updated for clarity in October 2021.