Vegan Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes (2 small to medium or 1 large), peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste*
1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed** (or 3 cups cooked whole grains, like wheat berries, spelt berries or kamut)
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
½ bunch of kale (4 ounces), chopped (about 3 cups)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste (optional, if you like it extra spicy like me)
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, sweet potato and salt. Sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften.
Add the curry paste and stir until the vegetables are coated and the curry is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the farro, if that’s your grain of choice. Add the vegetable broth and water, and stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
Test the farro for doneness—if it’s tender and cooked through, add the chickpeas and kale. Stir to combine, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the kale is cooked to your liking. If you chose to use pre-cooked whole grains, add them now. (If the farro is not done cooking yet, continue simmering until it’s tender, then proceed with the kale. This could take another 20 minutes, depending on the farro.)
Taste, and season with more salt as needed. I usually add about ½ teaspoon—if the soup tastes flat, add more salt. To kick up the flavor a notch and balance the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, stir in the optional cayenne pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. I like this soup even more the next day. Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. The soup freezes well, too.