• Chunky beetroot and vegetable soup. (Louise Franc)

A key ingredient in this nutritious soup is actually an ancient grain: farro.






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Farro is an ancient, highly nutritious wheat grain that has fed the people of the Near East and the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Cracked farro will cook more quickly than whole grains; if you only have whole farro grains, soak them overnight for quicker cooking.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 beetroot, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 100 g (½ cup) cracked farro (see tip) or pearl barley
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 150 g (2 cups) finely shredded white or red cabbage
  • Sour cream, to serve
  • Dill sprigs, to garnish

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–low heat. Sauté the leek, beetroot, parsnip, carrot, bay leaves, garlic and caraway seeds for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften, stirring occasionally.

Add the farro and stock. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the farro is nearly tender.

Add the cabbage and a little extra water, if necessary. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the vegetables and farro are tender. Season to taste with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with a swirl of sour cream, garnished with dill.

This recipe is from Low & Slow (Smith Street Books).