T’Amo Pio Farro: Variations On A Spelt Soup

I realize that it has been quite a while since I posted something other than bread. But, truly, saying I now live on bread and water is not a huge exaggeration.

Lately I grew out of some of the food I was eating before, like meat. And reduced considerably also all other sources of animal-based food, like milk, eggs, cheese and fish. You may now call me a lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian. With vegan tendencies.

When I am not eating bread, then, I am most likely eating whole grains and legumes and as many fresh vegetables I manage to have at hand. Last week I made two delicious spelt-based soups which I now want to share with you – vegetarian or not (scroll-down for the recipes – anche in italiano!).


you need: 2 dl (3/4 cup) spelt grains, 1 dl (ca 2/5 cup) dried red lentils, 5 dl (2 cups) water, a few bay leaves, 4-5 cloves garlic, dried hot peppers (whole or ground), 2 table-spoon extra virgin olive oil, marine salt.

how to: stir-fry the garlic, halved, with the chopped hot peppers (the amount depends on how spicy you want it – I like it HOT). Add the spelt and the bay leaves and a couple of table-spoon water and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the water and cover. Cook for about 35 minutes, then add the lentils and let cook for further 15 minutes. Season and drizzle with olive oil.


ti servono: 2 dl farro in chicchi, 1 dl lenticchie rosse secche, 1/2 l acqua, qualche foglia di alloro, 4-5 spicchi d’aglio, peperoncino, cucchiai olio evo, sale marino.

come fare: fai un soffritto leggero con l’aglio, olio e peperoncino a piacere (a me piace PICCANTE). Aggiungi il farro e le foglie di alloro e fai insaporire un paio di minuti. Aggiungi l’acqua, copri e cuoci per 35 minuti. Aggiungi le lenticchie e fai cuocere altri 15 minuti. Aggiusta di sale (e di peperoncino) e irrora con il rimanente olio.


you need: 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1/3 celery root, 1 onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, dried hot peppers (whole or ground), 1/2 pound fresh chanterelle (or other mushrooms), 2 dl (3/4 cup) spelt grains, 1 dl (ca 2/5  cup) dried green lentils, 1 dl (ca 2/5 cup) dried black-eyed beans, 7-10 dl (3-4 cups) water, 3-4 bay leaves, extra virgine olive oil, marine salt.

how to: peel the carrot, the celery root and the onion, dice or slice all the vegetables (including the celery stalks) and gently stir-fry on medium heat with a little olive oil + 3-4 table-spoon water, until veggies are slightly softened. Add the spelt, the lentils, the beans, the bay leaves and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Add remaining water and cover. Cook for 45-50 minutes and season toward the end of the cooking, adding more water if needed. Meanwhile, sautee the washed, rinsed and roughly chopped chanterelle with a little olive, 2-3 cloves of garlic and  some chopped hot peppers or hot peppers spice (the amount depends on how spicy you want it – I like it HOT). Once the spelt soup is ready, transfer in bowls, drizzle with olive oil and place a good spoonful of the spicy chanterelle on top.


ti servono: 1 carota, 2 gambi di sedano, 1/3 sedano rapa, 1 cipolla, 5-6 spicchi d’aglio, peperoncino, 250 g gallinacci freschi (o altri funghi), 2 dl farro in grani, 1 dl lenticchie verdi secche, 1 dl fagioli secchi (io ho usato fagiolo nano dolico dall’occhio), 3-4 foglie di alloro, olio evo, sale marino.

come fare: lava, pulisci e affetta tutte le verdure e fanne un soffritto leggero con un po’ d’olio e un po’ d’acqua.  Aggiungi il farro, le lenticchie, i fagioli e le foglie di alloro e fai insaporire un paio di minuti. Aggiungi l’acqua, copri e cuoci per 45-50 minuti. Nel frattempo, fai appassire i funghi (puliti, asciugati e ridotti in grossi pezzi) con un po’ d’olio, 2-3 spicchi d’aglio e peperoncino a piacere (a me piace PICCANTE). Verso la fine della cottura aggiusta di sale (e di peperoncino)  la zuppa e aggiungi acqua se necessario. Impiatta, irrora di olio e completa con i funghi piccanti.

CONSIDERATIONS: If you ask me, I could not say which soup I liked the best. Both exalt the goodness of spelt, “this ancient grain with a bright future” (I am quoting Hanne Risgaard, who grows spelt).  The first one is so simple and uses so few ingredients that one really has no excuse to make it from scratch. And even in its simplicity, I tell you, it shines. The hot pepper gives it all the umami it needs, so much that you will not miss the animal fat (generally pork shortage) which was traditionally added to this type of dishes in Italian cuisine. But no. Some honest Italian hot pepper truly does the trick. The second soup is slightly more complex and it gives you the added flavor and taste of the root vegetables and of the mushrooms. Again, the spicy mushrooms provide all the flavor needed to complete this peasant soup. What a sultry meal. Call it vegan, if you like.

CONSIDERAZIONI: Ragazze, chi ha mai detto che i piatti vegan devono essere noiosi e includere sostanze esotiche come la soia o il latte di mandorle? Queste due zuppe contadine a base di farro e legumi sono una meraviglia e non ti fanno assolutamente sentire la mancanza degli scarti di maiale che tradizionalmente le nostre nonne e bisnonne ci mettevano (quando li avevano). T’amo fortissimamente t’amo pio farro, cereale antico e modernissimo che non mi stanco piu’ di gustare. Alla salute!

With this recipe I participate to the event No Croutons Required hosted by  hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes.


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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! :)
25 replies
  1. Federica
    Federica says:

    Farro, legumi, lenticchie piccanti…ah che darei per questa zuppa scaldacuore oggi :) E quel pane? Mi ci è caduto subito l’occhio sai su quei bei buchi :D! Un bacio, buona giornata

  2. Veronika
    Veronika says:

    That is absolutely gorgeous, especially the first soup! I wonder, where do you buy your spelt grains in Sweden – could you give a tip please? I LOVE hot peppers and even grow my own at home, and always have red lentils on hand – so now I just need to get my hands on the spelt and this will get made!

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      thank you Veronika, so good you are thinking of trying this, it’s as tasty as it sounds. You can find the spelt (dinkel) in any good ICA or COOP. generally they have it in the flours sections, but sometimes it can also be in the quality grains and seeds section (where they have all the stuff from risenta and sålta kvarn).

  3. sandra
    sandra says:

    e lo so che non si dice amemi, ma in questo caso ci voleva un rafforzativo entrante ed entrante bene!!!
    Che bella che sei con queste zuppe… mi fai venire voglia anche a me, ora vado a casa e provvedo!!!!
    ciao tesoro!

  4. Rita cooks Italian (@ritacooksitalia)
    Rita cooks Italian (@ritacooksitalia) says:

    Soups are always welcome, especially in Autumn! I like to add Farro to my soups too, I think that is better than adding pasta (flavour and texture). There are so many delicious recipes that you can discover now that you are a “lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian. With vegan tendencies”. Share them with us, please!

  5. Baltic Maid
    Baltic Maid says:

    These soups look so tasty and hearty. I am a huge fan of soups and always like to try new ones. One I find the spelt grains I will try this. And I love to eat fresh bread with soups like your pictures shows. It’s the best… Thank you for these recipes!

  6. Pia
    Pia says:

    Soups!!!!!!! They all look delicious and perfect for the weather. Confession to make…. I’m not sure if I’d be able to find spelt here or perhaps i just didn’t know 😉 I will have to check Whole Foods. But looking at the photos, it look like quinoa or similar to barley? I will let you know. Oh, what is this? taking a break from your bread baking? 😉

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      hi Pia!
      barley is basically spelt, so go for it. quinoa would not be right in this type of soup.
      ps: no vacation from bread baking only a short one from bread posting 😉

  7. Pia
    Pia says:

    Ha! was at Vince and Joe’s today and checked for spelt, they only have the spelt flour ;( . I love barley, actually make barley soup and red lentil soup for my residents but never thought of combining them both. I’m going to give your version a whirl. 😉

  8. narf77
    narf77 says:

    As a soup aficionado I find myself wanting this soup right now. I just had lunch and am not even hungry so that’s how good this soup looks to me! Delish! I love this blog :)


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