There is nothing more nourishing and comforting after a month of rich food and commotion than settling in with a bowl of soup. Soup is the perfect receptacle for vitamin-packed vegetables and fiber-loaded whole grains. The darling green, kale, stars in this soup, along with farro, the Italian name for wheat berries. The latter is heartier than pasta and won’t overinflate in the soup or get soft and bloated. Likewise, kale is heartier than spinach and stands up well to the hot broth. Vibrant carrots join the party, imparting a good dose of sweetness and beta-carotene.
You can use almost any vegetable lingering in your fridge to make this soup (although we might skip broccoli and cauliflower). It’s great with a can of white beans thrown in, too. The hearty kale stands up to the wheat berries, but you can use almost any green. Look for wheat berries next to the grains in the supermarket.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 red or white onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
4 ounces finely chopped shaved deli ham
3 cups water
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup wheat berries, rinsed
1 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil
1 (1-pound) bag kale, chopped
4 toasted pita breads
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onions, celery, carrots and ham. Sauté 10 minutes. Add water and next 6 ingredients (water through pepper). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until wheat berries are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and kale; cook until thor- oughly heated. Remove rind before serving. The longer the soup sits with the cheese rind, the more intense the flavor. Serve with toasted pita bread. Serves 8.
Per serving: 260 calories, 3g fat, 10mg chol., 12g prot., 47g carbs., 6g fiber, 880mg sodium
Recipe by Jill Melton, Relish Editor