Sunday, April 21, 2013

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana (Recipe from from Terry Hope Romero) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was looking for a good farro soup, maybe something with beans and I found one in Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero--White bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana. Besides the farro, to help use up some of the Trader Joe's quick-cooking farro my mom gifted me, what really attracted me to the soup was the topping--crumbles of golden chickpea flour that is supposed to melt into the warmth of the soup. A well-topped bowl of good soup is a little slice of heaven in my book! ;-)

The recipes for the soup and topping from Vegan Eats World can also be found on Romero's website, here. I made just a couple of tiny changes--in red below.

Romero calls this "A great big Italian-style soup with a little Tuscan flair..."

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana
Adapted from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
(Serves 6 to 8)

1 cup uncooked pearled farro (I used a TJ's quick-cook version)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (I used 1/2 onion & added leeks)

(I added 2 large leeks, white and light green parts trimmed and chopped)
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

one (14-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp crumbled dried rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp rubbed sage powder
8 cups vegetable broth

two (14-oz) cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans) (I added 1 more can--3 total)
1 cup baby spinach leaves or finely chopped escarole (optional)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

few twists of freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste
1 recipe Chickpea Parmigianino Topping (Recipe below)

Pour the farro into a metal mesh sieve and rinse. In a 4-quart soup pot, preheat the olive oil over medium heat, stir in the garlic, and fry for 30 seconds. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and fry for 5 minutes or until onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, salt and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the vegetable broth, beans, and farro. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover. Simmer the soup for 30 to 40 minutes or until the farro grains are plump and tender. Occasionally uncover and stir the soup.

When the farro is tender, if using spinach or escarole stir into the soup and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with pepper and salt to taste. Partially cover the soup and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Ladle soup into large deep serving bowls. Sprinkle top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of Chickpea Parmigianino.

Chickpea Parmigianino Topping
Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups topping)

"A technique borrowed from Ethiopian cuisine transforms humble chickpea flour into salty, tender golden crumbles that resemble coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Like finely grated cheese, these crumbles dissolve on contact with hot, moist foods and add a sharp, lemony, and salty coating perfect for Mediterranean recipes."

3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt

Over medium heat in a small saucepan preheat the olive oil, then pour in the chickpea flour. Use a rubber spatula to mash the flour into the oil and stir constantly to toast the flour for about 2 minutes. The flour should turn a darker shade of yellow and look slightly damp.

In a measuring cup whisk together the lemon juice, water, and salt. Pour into the flour; it will sizzle and splatter a little. Stir constantly until a firm ball of dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and spread the dough onto a dinner plate. Use the spatula or your fingers (once the dough cools slightly) to press and smear the dough into a thin layer over the surface of the plate. Transfer the plate to the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.
Once the dough feels completely cool, remove from the refrigerator and drag a large fork through the dough. Continue to press the fork through it while also stirring and fluffing up the crumbs. The more you work the dough with the fork, the finer the crumbs will be. (I found the fork helpful in the beginning but my fingers (clean of course) to be even better in getting fine crumbs.) Continue for 3 to 5 minutes until it’s very fine and crumbly. Use the crumbs now, or pour into a container and chill another 20 minutes for firmer texture.

For best results, sprinkle crumbs generously over hot soup or pasta just before serving. The crumbs will dissolve on hot, moist food. To keep crumbs fluffy, use a fork to fluff up before serving.

A picture without the topping--so you can see the soup. ;-)

Notes/Results: Good Soup! Good soup + fun & delicious topping = Excellent Soup! I really enjoyed this recipe. The flavor of the soup with the herbs and veggies is great and the texture of the farrow and beans make it hearty and satisfying. When it gets topped with the crumbly chickpea flour Parmigiana, the slightly tart and salty addition takes it up a notch. No one will mistake it for real Parmesan but it does "melt" nicely into the soup as you eat it. A great idea and pretty easy to execute. Since I didn't have any chickpea flour on hand, I just made my own with dried chickpeas and the wonder of the Vitamix dry blender container. This makes a nice-sized pot of soup and I am happy to consume the leftovers. ;-) I would make this soup, and will make the Chickpea Parmigiana, to try on other dishes, again.

Friends await in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look!

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food shares this Burdock Root (Gobo) Soup and says, "Though I usually see Burdock Root/Gobo in the Asian supermarkets here in California, I never have the urge to buy and cook it. ...I decided that maybe I can try making a soup, a vegetarian soup. In Chinese food therapy, burdock root helps to reduce heat in the body. Thus it is beneficial in the warming temperature trend, spring to summer. One distinctive characteristic that I wish to highlight is the smell of ginseng when boiling the burdock root in this soup. Burdock root or Gobo is regarded as "Oriental Ginseng" for a reason - not only the smell but the nutrients and benefits too."

Mireille of Chef Mireille's Global Creations made this spicy flavorful Thai Seafood Soup and says, "Continuing on  my Sunday Thailand theme, here's a spicy, intense soup with all of the multi-layered flavors expected of Thai food. If you don't handle really spicy food well, you can reduce the quantity of chiles used, but the heat of the chile is balanced with the palm sugar and salt from the fish sauce and soy sauce."

My friend Sue of Couscous & Consciousness has two salads to share this week. First, her version of Ottolenghi's Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds. Sue says, "This salad delivered on all fronts - texture, taste (just the right amount of that sweet, salty, sour going on), and leafy goodness.  I made a couple of small changes - I subbed in fennel in place of red onion, which I'm not particularly fond of raw in salads, and I replaced pita bread croutons with sourdough, because that's what I had on hand.  I also adjusted quantities to make a delicious lunch for one person.  This certainly won't be the last time that this salad graces my lunch table."  

Sue's second salad is this pretty Rocket & Cress Salad with Roasted Figs & Haloumi. She says, "The peppery rocket and cress, combined with the lemony-spicy croutons and almonds, the sweet, juicy figs, and the salty haloumi was a blindingly-good flavour combination.  While crunchy nuts and croutons, velvety leaves, soft fruit and squeaky cheese all added up to a great textural combo as well. This is the perfect dish for a light autumn lunch, or would also make a great side dish to roasted chicken or some lovely barbequed lamb chops.  Hope you'll give it a try."

Joyce of Kitchen Flavors made this colorful salad of Ottolenghi's Curry Roasted Root Vegetables with Lime and says, "A delicious dish of roasted root vegetables. The natural sweetness of the root veggies, with the slight spicy kick from the chilli powder and the taste and aroma from both the curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves are just simply wonderful, together with slight tangy lime juice, really packs a ton of flavours! I had this for my dinner, and can't help thinking that "I had roasted salad for dinner today"! I've enjoyed every single piece. And a second plate! Yum! I'll be making these again!"

Joanne of Eats Well With Others is also a fan of Ottolenghi's Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds, serving it with a savory bread pudding. Joanne says, "...this salad from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem is possibly one the best things I've ever tasted. ... There is just something so captivating about the combination of slightly pickled onions and dates with the spicy citrusy crispy crunchy sumac-coated pita croutons and chopped almonds. Every bite is magical. So much so that you don't even remember you're eating something that's actually good for you.  I've made it twice in the past week and so if this isn't love at first bite, I'm not really sure what is.

Janet of The Taste Space offers up a crisp Napa Cabbage and Asian Pear Salad with Smoky Avocado & Cumin Dressing and says, "Not all dressings are created equal, and this smoky avocado dressing is creamy but intense at the same time. It wouldn’t work with flimsy baby greens, which is why I opted for heartier sliced Napa cabbage and collard greens. To counter the heaviness of the dressing, I added a touch of sweetness to the salad with Asian pear and red bell pepper. To add even more goodness, I added some arugula sprouts and to add a good protein source I added chickpeas [sprouted chickpeas keeps this raw, but cooked chickpeas are what I prefer]. With the dressing thinned out over the salad, it was a nice merriment of flavours and textures, although a tad heavy on cumin (even for me)."

Janet's second entry are these salady Quinoa Sprouts, Avocado and Tomato Marinara Wraps and says, "I’ve tried raw quinoa before (basically quinoa soaked for a day) but prefer to use cooked quinoa. Uncooked raw/sprouted grains and legumes kind of go thump in my tummy. The quinoa is dressed with a rich flavourful tomato sauce which I unrawified by substituting red pepper paste for the optional red pepper. This is then placed in a Romaine leaf and topped with avocado for a delicious wrap. I found it was best to add the dressing just prior to serving since leftovers became dry."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week! If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share--just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Yum! I've made that soup, too, but wasn't as wowed by the topping. Maybe because it was nothing like parmesan although it was tasty. Thank you for another great round-up. :)

  2. It's not a direct match for sure, but for me it added a lot to the soup and I think it would be great on other things. A nice change from nutritional yeast. ;-) I try not to think of mock/fake cheeses as the real thing but a substitute that adds a little of the taste/texture/mood--otherwise, I find myself disappointed.

  3. www.teczcape.blogspot.comApril 21, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    The chickpea topping is so interesting. Thanks for the round up :)

  4. I love the sound of this hearty soup! And the chickpea flour topping is such a fun idea. I used it recently for a recipe and now I can't wait to get more use it out of it!

  5. This is a really fun soup recipe! I love the chickpea parmigiana and I love that you made the chickpea flour all on your own using the vitamix. What a novel idea! I looked high and low for chickpea flour, never finding any until just recently, and here I had dried chickpeas in my pantry the whole time. I can be such a dork sometimes!

    I'm also loving that Ottolenghi is making appearances in the SS roundup.

  6. Hi Deb,
    Your soup looks really, really delicious! The topping of Chickpea Parmigiana sounds wonderful, a new one for me! Though I would eat the soup as it is even without any topping, it looks that good!
    Wonderful round-up!

  7. What a wonderful soup, Deb. I'm mad for farro (though not always easy to come by here and very pricey, but I love it for a treat) and white beans, and I can't wait to try the chickpea flour parmigiana - that's genius.


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