Saturday, November 29, 2014

Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice

This delicious Autumn Harvest Soup with butternut squash and kale has some of my favorite fall and winter ingredients.

Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice found on

(Autumn Harvest Soup was updated with better photos in November 2014.)

Sometimes recipes that just come together out of whatever's on hand turn out to be some of my favorites, and this Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro (or Brown Rice) is one I came up with when I had butternut squash and kale and I'd been craving Farro, an ingredient I've loved ever since I tried it in Farro with Mushrooms. The butternut, kale, and farro combination here turned out to be wonderful, but if you wanted a gluten-free version you could make this with brown rice, which would also be very tasty.

This recipe can definitely be made vegetable stock, and it would be perfect to make on the weekend and enjoy for a Meatless Monday lunch or dinner.  (There are lots more meatless recipe ideas tagged with the label Meatless Monday, or find them by checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  I also have a very active Meatless Monday Pinterest board with ideas from blogging friends, and I feature a weekly recipe for Meatless Monday at 

Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice found on
If you're using farro, start by soaking it for at least 15 minutes.  If you don't want to Peel and Cut Up a Butternut Squash, I think pre-cut squash cubes are great for soup.  Cut the squash into pieces not more than 3/4 inch across.  Saute the diced onion with the thyme and sage.

Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice found on
Add the stock to the onions and herbs and bring to a low simmer; then add the farro and simmer 10 minutes.  (You can skip this extra ten minutes if you're using brown rice.)  Add the squash cubes and simmer about 30 minutes.  Mash the squash a bit so some pieces will thicken the soup, then add the kale and simmer 20-30 minutes more.  Stir in a little balsamic vinegar if desired, and serve hot.  This is good with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on at the table.

Butternut Squash Soup with Kale and Farro
And just for fun, here's the original photo of this soup from 2008!

Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro or Brown Rice found on
Autumn Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Farro (or Brown Rice)
(Makes about 8 servings, but can be cut in half. Recipe created by Kalyn.)

1 cup Farro (can also use brown rice, see instructions below)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage (rubbed sage)
6 cups chicken  or vegetable stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use canned stock or stock from a carton)
6 cups diced butternut squash
4 cups chopped kale
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1-2 T balsamic vinegar (optional)
freshly grated Parmesan for serving (optional, this soup is dairy-free without the Parmesan)

Soak Farro in cold water 15-30 minutes. (Rice does not need soaking)  Cut butternut squash into cubes not more than 3/4 inches across. 

Chop onion, then heat olive oil in bottom of large soup pot, add onion and saute about 5 minutes. Add thyme and sage and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Add chicken or vegetable stock to the soup pot and bring to a low simmer. Drain Farro and add to stock, then simmer 10 minutes. (You could skip this initial ten minutes of cooking with brown rice.) Add butternut squash cubes and simmer about 30 minutes, or until squash is quite soft. Use a potato masher to mash some of the squash so it dissolves into the soup, leaving other pieces whole.

While soup simmers, wash and chop kale. Add kale to soup and simmer about 20-30 minutes more. (I like the greens cooked fairly well in my soup.) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. If desired, stir in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar right before you serve the soup.  Serve hot, with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

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South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
The use of butternut squash and farro would make this recipe phase two or three for the South Beach Diet.  You could make a lower carb soup by making this with Cauliflower Rice.

Nutritional Information? I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Delicious Soups with Butternut Squash:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Ground Turkey Soup with Rice, Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut squash ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup ~ 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Slow Cooker Thai-Inspired Butternut Squash Soup with Red Bell Pepper, Lime, and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (Vegan) ~ The Perfect Pantry
Spicy Vegetarian Butternut Squash Soup with Black Beans, Red Bell Peppers, and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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  1. This looks great, I am very into farro these days - although I haven't soaked it ahead of time. Interesting.

    I love your header! Although the kid in me wants to collect chestnuts just to throw them :)

  2. I've never used (or even heard of!) farro. I will definitely have to try it out... I'm tring to get Bobby to eat more whole grains :)

  3. Great recipe! It looks so fresh, healthy and totally delicious. I love it!

  4. Kalyn what a beautiful soup! I love your recipes! You enlighten me so much on using veggies in different ways and branching out and trying the unknown!

  5. look so yummy! I love soups, when it gets colder like this time of the year they are real comforters :)

  6. That soup looks wonderful ! I have never heard of farro either but I will be looking for it.

  7. I am a big fan of farro, kale, & sqaush so this a home run - thanks for sharing!

  8. Kalyn, what a delicious soup. Farro is really a fabulous grain. I don't eat it often enough but everytime it comes into my kitchen i keep asking myself why i don't have it more often. I have loads of kale at the moment so i can easily reproduce your dish.

  9. So glad to see that farro made it safely from Boston and into this wonderful soup. The recipe epitomizes Fall for me -- dark greens, winter squash, hearty grains.

  10. Thanks to everyone for the nice thoughts about this. I was so happy with how it turned out.

    For those who haven't tried farro, it's very much worth looking for. I can't find it anywhere in Salt Lake so far (although I am going to try the Italian market on the other side of town.) I know you can buy it at if all else fails. I'm lobbying my local whole foods to carry it, but they look at me like I'm crazy.

    I did buy a bunch of it in Boston and had it shipped, but it hasn't arrived and I'm getting worried because a few other things that were supposedly mailed to me haven't shown up either. Fingers crossed that I will get it!

  11. Am I nutty but I really do find this soup can sweep me off my feet! So beautiful! Healthy and no body would know ;0) until you tell.

  12. Some of the best soups are born of the simple expediency of using whatever is left over, or what needs to be used up. I think it forces us to try combinations we might never have thought of otherwise.

  13. What a fantastic recipe Kalyn and you're so lucky to have that garden! I was relieved to find that I cut Butternut Squash in exactly the same way as you recommend.

  14. mmmm...Kale and butternut squash - two of my favorite things, together in one pot. Yummy!

  15. This looks like a hearty soup! I love butternut squash and I'm off to check out your post on how to peel and cut it up!

  16. Great looking soup the the flavour contrast of sweet squash against earthy kale sounds yum.

  17. Butternut is so beautiful in soup. What a perfect autumn combination. Lovely.

  18. I love everything about this soup, Kalyn-- the colors, the flavor, and the nutritional boost! I'm planning on posting on a red lentil and kale soup in which I used red kale too.

  19. This looks fanatstic, especially for the chilly fall day that it is!

  20. What a healthy, hearty and tasty sounding soup.

  21. Carole with an "e" in NYCOctober 30, 2008 at 6:55 AM

    Made this soup on Tuesday for dinner but used regular green kale as I couldn't find the red. The farro was easier to find then I imagined, right there on the shelf of my Stop and Shop. Hearty, satisfying, as well as delicious. I really like to make soups starting this time of the year, so thanks for adding one to my list. It is a keeper.

  22. That looks delicious! Love the use of farro, such a tasty grain :)

    1. Thanks June, and I agree that Farro is just so delicious!

  23. Do you really mean 6 quarts of stock, or is it 6 cups?

    1. Yikes, 6 cups is right! Thanks for catching that, will fix right now.

  24. So glad you reposted this recipe--it's a winner!


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