Photo courtesy of JEREMY LEE PHOTOGRAPHY
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Serves: 16 (freezes well)
1 container mushrooms – chopped
1 large fennel bulb - chopped
1 large white onion – chopped
3 carrots – chopped
3 ribs celery – chopped
1 TB fennel seed
1 TB dry oregano
1 tsp dry rosemary
5 cloves of garlic – chopped
4 medium zucchini, chopped
1 14 oz can kidney or white beans, washed and drained
1 large can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
3 quarts veggie stock or water
juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ cup uncooked farro (larger than barley, speaks Italian), barley or rice
1 small bag of spinach
1 bunch basil – torn
Salt and Pepper to taste
Nutritional yeast and fresh basil for garnish (if you like dairy, sub in Parmesan cheese and fresh basil)
1. Heat a large stockpot over medium/high heat. Pour 2-3 TB olive oil into the bottom until it shimmers.
2. Put in mushrooms and cook until brown and caramelized. Add the onions, carrots, celery and fennel next, and cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add the fennel seed, oregano, rosemary and garlic, and stir for about a minute until garlic becomes fragrant.
4.Next add the zucchini, beans, tomatoes, stock, and lemon juice.
5. When the mixture is heated to simmering, add the farro and continue to cook, uncovered, on low until veggies are soft when poked with a fork.
6. Add the entire bag of spinach and torn basil, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.
HOW TO SERVE IT:
If serving vegan style, top soup with croutons, some thinly sliced fresh basil and ½ tsp of nutritional yeast for that “parmesan” like taste.
If serving to others – top with croutons, basil and a heap of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.
DR. JJ TIP:
You can easily adapt this recipe using your crockpot. Saute the veggies up to step 3 in a pan, transfer to your crockpot, add the ingredients in step 4 and cook on high for an hour. Add the farro, cover, and cook another hour. (at this point you can hold the soup on "low" until ready to serve). Finish by adding the spinach and basil, season, and serve.
If you can't find fresh basil in your market, sub in Italian parsley.