Farro, the ancient grain similar to barley, adds texture and creaminess to this vegan version of Tuscan white bean soup with carrots and kale. Use Alubia Blanca or any small white beans, such as navy beans.
Rinse the beans and remove any debris, such as rocks or twigs, and any broken or discolored beans. Drain them and put them in the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, along with the farro, bouillon, and 6 cups water. Lock the lid in place, make sure the valve is set on seal, and set the pressure cooking time for 20 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes before releasing manually. Check to make sure the beans are tender or very close to tender. If they aren't cooked all the way through, replace the lid and return the pot to pressure for another 2 or 3 minutes. Quick release the pressure, and check the beans again. Repeat if necessary.
While the pressure is coming down, heat a large skillet on the stove and saute the onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat until the onions begin to soften. (Add water by the tablespoon if they start to stick to the pan.) When the onions begin to brown, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside until beans are done.
Add the sauteed vegetables to the beans, along with the tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, basil, and both types of pepper. If the soup seems dry, add 1 to 2 cups more water. Add salt to taste. Set the pot on the lowest saute setting for 20 minutes. Cook, stirring often, until the flavors have a chance to blend.
A few minutes before serving, remove the rosemary sprigs and add the nutritional yeast, smoked salt or paprika, and kale. Cook until the kale is bright green and wilted. Check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast to taste. Serve with hearty whole grain bread with a sprinkle of lemon zest or squeeze of lemon juice in each bowl.
Non-Pressure Cooker Instructions
Start by soaking the beans overnight; this will speed cooking. Place in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add the farro and additional water, if necessary, and cook until beans and farro are tender. The time will vary depending on the beans used.
Follow steps 2-4 above.
Which bean you use determines the cooking time. Alubia blanca beans take about 20 minutes at high pressure, while these other beans take longer:Navy beans: 25 to 30 minutesCannellini beans: 35 to 40 minutesIf you're using beans with a long cooking time, I suggest dividing the cooking time in half, opening the pot halfway through and adding the farro then so it doesn't overcook. Then return the pot to pressure for the remainder of the cooking time and use a natural release.For Gluten-Free:Instead of farro, use buckwheat groats or oat groats. Oat groats cook in about the same amount of time as farro, so follow the recipe directions. Buckwheat takes less time, so don't add them with the beans. Instead, add the buckwheat groats to the pot along with the tomatoes and vegetables and make sure there is extra water to allow them to expand.