This Brothy Farro Kale Soup Recipe Is the Perfect Late Spring Meal
As we transition from spring to summer, many of us are finishing up our bi-annual Ayurvedic cleanses and stepping into the process of reintegrating a wide range of foods back into our diets.
The intentional process of reintegration sets us up to absorb and assimilate the more rejuvenating (or ojas-building) foods that bolster us for summer.
In Ayurveda, the period right after a cleanse is often considered to be more important than the cleanse itself because it’s a potent time to build strength in the body.
In late spring, we are balancing the experience of re-kindling agni from the slow, damp qualities of kapha season, and setting a tone of rejuvenation in preparation for the hot, sharp qualities of pitta season.
A Look at the Ingredients
Now, let’s talk about some of the key ingredients.
Farro is sweet and strengthening, which supports pitta dosha. It is also nutritive and easier to digest than other forms of wheat that are more processed. The name “farro” is actually a collective term used to refer to the three ancient grains that modern wheat originated from.
Those three grains are: emmer, einkorn, and spelt. In the United States, farro is typically made of emmer wheat. Because farro is in the wheat family, it does contain gluten. It is also high in fiber and protein-rich.
Kale, the other key ingredient in the recipe, is bitter and cooling. Also great for pitta, it cleanses the blood and supports liver function. Kale also embodies the rough quality, which can make it more difficult to digest when eaten in its raw form. This can lead to gas, bloating, and digestive discomfort.
To counter the rough quality of kale and make it more easily digestible, cook it with plenty of digestive spices and some oil or water to ensure that your body is able to absorb and assimilate the nutrients with ease—just like we do in this recipe!
Ayurvedic cooking is about intelligently combining foods and spices to make synergistic meal combinations. In doing so, one important thing to consider is if the six tastes are present.
Ayurveda recommends incorporating each of the six tastes into every meal for full-spectrum satiation and a more tridoshic effect. Here’s how the tastes show up in this recipe:
Sweet: Farro (the body receives grains as sweet)
Sour: Lemon juice
Salty: Mineral salt and celery
Bitter: Kale and turmeric
Pungent: Ginger and leeks
This recipe is great on its own as a simple nourishing soup, but can easily be dressed up by topping it with sautéed mushrooms, or adding chickpeas to give it a little more body. To modify for cooler seasons, you can also sauté the base ingredients (celery and leeks) with a little bit of tomato and onion to make the soup more warming and pungent.
If you’re craving something flavorful but light, with simple well-balanced ingredients, this is about to be the pitta-kapha soup of your dreams.
Rejuvenating Farro Kale Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 inches ginger, grated
- 1 inch fresh turmeric, grated (or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder)
- 8 cups mushroom broth (or broth of your choice)
- ½ cup pearled or semi-pearled farro, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- ¾ teaspoon mineral salt
- 2 cups fresh kale, chopped or torn
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
Press the sauté button on your Instant Pot. (If you’re not using an Instant Pot, see recipe notes below.) Warm the olive oil or ghee and add the leek, celery, fresh ginger, and fresh turmeric. Sauté for three to five minutes, or until soft.
Mix in the coriander and sauté for one minute. If using powdered turmeric, add it now as well.
Lastly, add the broth, farro, and salt.
Turn off the sauté function. Secure the lid, making sure the steam release valve is in the "sealed" position. Program the Instant Pot to cook on High Pressure for 12 minutes.
When the time is up, release the steam and remove the lid.
Stir in the kale and lemon juice. Add more salt to taste, as well as black pepper or pepper flakes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley, and enjoy!
Modifications for the Doshas:
- For vata, try adding spinach in place of the kale.
- For kapha, spice it up with cumin or mustard seeds.
- For pitta, garnish with non-sour cow’s yogurt and cilantro.
- If your farro is not pearled or semi pearled, it will take longer to cook.
- This recipe can be made without an Instant Pot. Just simmer and cover the farro until it is tender (about 25–35 minutes).