Roasted Savoy Cabbage and Farro Soup

If it were possible for a food to give you a big hug, then this soup would be the one. It is so perfect for those cold autumn or winter days that seem to chill your bones right to the marrow.

The soup does take a bit of prep time, but I compensate by making an extra big batch and enjoy it for several days. The grains will continue to soak up the liquids during storage time, so you may need to supplement some vegetable broth into the soup the next day or two. I don’t consider this a problem…and you can just add some water since there is so much flavor already built into the soup.

Here’s something else that will make you happy…it costs very little to make. The farro is the most expensive item on the ingredients list, and that isn’t very expensive either.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try – I think it will become one of your favorite cold-weather soups that you can enjoy making until the first hints of spring arrive.

Yield: makes 6-8 servings

  • 750 grams (1 ½ pounds) savoy cabbage, about 2 heads

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 2 medium size onions, chopped fine

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 400 grams (2 cups) farro

  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar

  • 2 liters (2 quarts) vegetable broth

  • juice of one lemon

  • garlicky lemon-walnut crumble, to garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F).
  • Prepare the savoy cabbage next. Remove the tough outer layer of dark green leaves if they are present. Quarter the cabbage heads next, then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Rub each quarter of cabbage well with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Heat a small frying pan over high heat. Add the cumin and fennel seeds. Lightly toast the seeds until you can smell the aroma – this will take only seconds. Remove the seeds, lightly crush them and add to the cabbage quarters.
  • Put the cabbage into the pre-heated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. The cabbage should take on some color with a hint of charred leaves on the outside. Allow the cabbage to cool a bit, then remove the core from each quarter and slice the cabbage.
  • You can start to put the rest of the soup together while the cabbage cooks. Heat a large pot – ideally a wide one – over medium heat. Add the chopped onions to the pre-heated pot, then sprinkle a teaspoon of sea salt on the onions. Allow the onions to sweat for at least 10 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water as necessary when the onions begin to stick to the pan. I like to allow the onions to take on some color during this process. I think the sweetness from the onions is wonderful in this soup.
  • Add the grated garlic and fresh thyme to the onions, along with 60 ml. (1/4-cup) water. Let the water evaporate, then repeat the process two more times.
  • While the onions cook, go ahead and prepare the farro by placing it on a baking tray. When the cabbage is done cooking, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F). Toast the farro in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, then add the farro to the pot with the onions. Add the sherry wine vinegar and vegetable broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the temperature to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 35-40 minutes.
  • Adjust the seasoning of the soup. Add the lemon juice and all of the cabbage. Stir well and serve. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons of garlicky lemon-walnut crumble. Enjoy right away!

Jack’s Fresh Tip

You can use any kind of grain for this soup – dinkel, wheat berries, green wheat, and so forth. You can also elect to make the soup gluten-free and use something like buckwheat.

I have made this soup extra filling by adding potatoes. I just cut the potatoes into medium-sized dice and add them with the farro.

Use red wine vinegar if you have no sherry wine vinegar on hand.

This soup is influenced greatly by the quality of your vegetable broth…I strongly urge you to consider making your own instead of using something store bought – or even worse – a cube or powder.

Techniques used

Go back to recipes

This is a Sample Recipe

To see more recipes like this subscribe now