Mixed vegetable soup recipe with wheat berries and tender spinach

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Yesterday was “soup day”. I made two large pots of vegetable broth to have the base to make some homemade vegetable soups for some friends. Homemade vegetable broth is much better than the boxed variety. It is clean, clear and light.

As I thought about what soups to make, I stumbled across an article in the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine with Eataly's grand opening in New York City.

Eataly is a 50,000-square-foot artisan food and wine market and restaurant complex. "(We hope) transport the client to an environment that exudes Italian philosophy: the whole package of living well," says Lidia Bastianich. I am a great admirer of Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich (my children love Italian food). What really caught my eye was the vegetable butcher and the vegetable restaurant featured at Eataly, which will serve dishes using local produce. The article included a recipe for mixed vegetable and farro soup. Perfect, a new healthy soup recipe to try.

I decided to make Mario's vegetable soup recipe and my old French lentil soup with barley and rainbow chard (except this time I used kale). I even had some vegetable broth left after, which I'll freeze for the next day of soup.

I hope Mario doesn't mind, but I made a few modifications, including using homemade vegetable broth instead of water, and adding some fresh herbs as well as some leafy green vegetables to make it a one-plate meal.

Mixed vegetable soup with wheat berries and baby spinach

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup wheat or farro berries
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • A 15-ounce can of borlotti or other rinsed and drained beans
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 stem of fresh basil
  • 2 large carrots cut in half lengthwise and cut crosswise 1/4 "thick
  • 4 handfuls of tender spinach, any green leafy vegetables will work as kale, Swiss chard, cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the celery, onion, and leek and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wheat berries and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are covered and shiny, about 30 seconds. Add 1 quart of the broth, beans, thyme, and basil, and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

  2. Add carrots and remaining stock. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted (more abundant green leafy vegetables will take a little longer to cook). Remove the thyme sprig and the wilted basil. Spice with salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Eataly's recipe, published in Food and Wine, October 2010.

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