Recipe: Black bean, kale & farro soup with smoked olive oil (no bacon! whaaaat?)

Black Bean, Kale & Farro SoupHere’s a recipe that’ll knock your socks off. It’s a soup — no biggie — chocked full of veggies — no biggie — that would be excellent kicked off with a little rendered bacon — duh. Few soups wouldn’t benefit from getting things started with a little smoky, salty, fat.

Except for I’m out of bacon. And, as you can read more about in a post I’m hoping to get to tomorrow, we’re kind of trying to limit bacon intake in this house, among other things, at least for a little while. Something to do with wanting to live a long and healthy life. Psh.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I guarantee you that pigs somewhere are flying. Or maybe they’re ice skating in hell.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stay with me while this blog takes a slight turn toward healthier eating, which in all honesty I’m approximating will last about a week, because I manage to crank out some pretty legit eats without involving any smoked pig at all.

Case in point: this soup. Hearty, wintry, filling and not at all bland, boring or “green” tasting. Yes, it’d be awesome with bacon, but I read recently that bacon is on its way “out,” so maybe this is kind of a self-preservation tactic I’m working on, subconsciously. I mean, that guy’s an idiot, but who knows. Regardless, Chris ate this soup right up, and then happily ate it again for lunch the next day.

Translation: You’ll dig it.

Black Bean, Kale & Farro Soup with Smoked Olive Oil
By Emily Stoffel
Cook time: 30 mins | Serves: 4

Note: The smoked olive oil in this recipe isn’t absolutely essential, but it is what gives the dish its wow factor (and it lessens the “no-bacon” blow). It’s both rich and grassy and adds great depth of flavor to the finished soup (and just about anything you drizzle it on). We like The Smoked Olive brand, which is sold at Williams Sonoma and plenty of other cooking shops around town. A real treat is their Santa Fe Chili variation, which packs great kick and is awesome on seafood.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped (stems intact)
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, lightly drained
  •  4-5 oz. (1/2 bag) Trader Joe’s quick-cook farro (or 1-1.5 cups cooked farro)
  • 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • dash nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese and smoked olive oil for serving


Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over med-high heat and add onion, carrots and celery. Season with Italian seasoning, curry and salt and pepper and saute until onions are translucent and just beginning to brown, 5-10 mins. Add tomato paste and cook until paste is incorporated and darkens slightly, 1-2 mins. Add kale and nutmeg and saute until kale is bright green and reduced in volume, then add beans and stock. Bring soup to a boil and add farro; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until farro is tender. (Note: if using cooked farro, stir in just before serving.) Serve soup in wide, shallow bowls topped with parmesan cheese and drizzled with smoked olive oil. Enjoy with crusty garlic bread or a simple grilled cheese for dipping.

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