Pantry-cleaning farro and quinoa soups


In Gourmandistan we’ve become much better at enforcing a “first in, first out” rule for food in our various storage areas. (Steve, especially, often manifests squirrel-like tendencies, hoarding things like apples, rice and garlic as cold weather sets in.)

One of our new rules is dating every jar and package using marker and masking tape, which will hopefully prevent such awkward questions as “Do you remember buying this?” and “How long has this been here?” as well as the dreaded “What created this horrible stinky pile of mold and mush?” (Correct answer, once: a box of champagne mangos.) This resolve is one reason why we recently enjoyed two whole-grain soups, made from farro and quinoa.

We know there is oodles of Internet info about the glorious nutritive powers of these two grains—that’s maybe why Steve bought bulk lots of both a while back, dreaming of healthy pilafs or side dishes or something. But no recipes for farro (wheat’s burly cousin) or quinoa (ancient Incan mystery grain) really captured our interest, and the grains lingered in the pantry for almost too long. Michelle saved them by finding a couple of soup recipes, one from Deborah Madison and one from Judith Finlayson (strangely enough by way of Reader’s Digest, here). They were both tasty, not too difficult and left Steve feeling quite virtuous—both from the grains’ healthful qualities, and his wise use of food.


(adapted from Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen)

  • 1-1/2 c. farro, soaked for at least an hour in cold water
  • 4 TB. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 2 TB. rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 TB. parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Approx. 1 lb. cooked chickpeas (frozen or canned are fine)
  • Salt and pepper

Drain farro.  Heat oil in a soup pot and add vegetables and herbs (except garlic).  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened.  Add garlic and cook a few more minutes.  Add farro and broth, bring to a boil, then cover pan and simmer until farro is tender.  It took ours about 40 minutes.

If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse in a colander. Add chickpeas to soup and cook until warmed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve bowls of soup garnished with finely minced rosemary, freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil.


  1. You brave, well-organized souls! The quinoa recipe seems to skip all the many rinsings and rubbings – is that just overkill? No soapy taste? And, since I have overbought both quinoa and amaranth in the past few months, did you happen upon any amaranth recipes?? I’m excited about these recipes you’ve turned up and tested. And I’m imagining it works well to freeze some for later, when you’ve forgotten how good it was the first time.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: