Tuscan Vegetable Soup

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 2h 10m

Serves 4

The addition of a grain imparts body and rich, earthy flavor to this hearty country soup. Spelt, an ancient variety of wheat known in Italy as farro, is highly prized in Tuscany for its pleasantly nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture. Look for it in well-stocked Italian shops or health-food stores.


  • 1 cup spelt, barley or long-grain white rice
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 2 broccoli stalks
  • 1 small leek, white part only
  • 1 small celery stalk
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus olive oil for garnish
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced white turnip
  • 5 cups vegetable or meat stock
  • 3/4 cup diagonally sliced green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • Freshly grated good-quality Italian Parmesan cheese

Companion recipe: Meat Stock Vegetable Stock


In a bowl, combine the spelt, barley or rice and 3 cups of the water. Let stand for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli, leek, celery and carrot into slices 1/4 inch thick; set aside.

In a soup pot over low heat, warm the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Drain the spelt, barley or rice and add it to the pot, along with the turnip, broccoli, leek, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

Add the stock and another 1 cup of the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the green beans and zucchini, cover, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft yet retain their shape and the grain is tender, 35-40 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, stir in the remaining 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

TO SERVE: Ladle the soup into warmed individual soup bowls. Lace each serving with a thin drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle the cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2246

nutrition information per serving

411 calories; 16g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 89mg sodium; 64g carbohydrates; 8g fiber; 11g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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