Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup

sweet potato, kale and chickpea soup with farro

The holidays are officially over, thank goodness. My skinny jeans are feeling a little snug, though, and this girl gets cranky when her skinny jeans are snug. Rather than telling myself what I shouldn’t eat (which inevitably results in an overwhelming urge to scarf down an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies), I’ve been filling my belly with my favorite veggie-packed meals. Case in point: this sweet potato, kale, chickpea and farro soup, which is both impossible to describe using fewer words and totally my favorite soup.

sweet potato, kale, chickpea, soup ingredients

Pictured is the third batch of this soup that I’ve made since cold weather hit, and I’m counting down the minutes until I can heat up a big bowlful for lunch. It’s spicy, filling, satisfying, and overflowing with so-called power foods and whole grain goodness.

I dare say that my third attempt is just right; I love it so because each main ingredient contributes flavor while retaining its texture. The chickpeas don’t turn to mush like lentils would, the sweet potatoes retain their delicate bite, and the kale never wilts like more delicate greens.

soup ingredients

If your pants are feeling a bit snug like mine, satisfy your appetite with a bowl of this sweet and spicy soup and forget about those strict detox diets. Say yes to health, and no to self-deprivation! Get yourself to a yoga class, savor every bite and you’ll be rocking those skinny jeans before you know it. That’s my strategy, at least.

sweet potato, kale and chickpea soup recipe

4.9 from 9 reviews
Vegan Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small to medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (or butternut squash)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste (available in the Asian section at most grocery stores)
  • 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed (or 2 cups cooked whole grains, like wheat berries, spelt berries or kamut)
  • 6 to 7 cups vegetable broth (or water flavored with vegetarian bouillon cubes)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can of cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
  • ½ roasted red pepper, finely chopped (I used jarred)
  • ½ small bunch of crinkly purple kale or green kale, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, if you like it extra spicy like me)
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the onions and sweet potato and a big pinch of salt. Sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften.
  3. Add the curry paste and stir until the onions and sweet potatoes are coated and the curry is fragrant (about a minute).
  4. Add the farro, if that’s your grain of choice, and six cups of veggie broth or water and bouillon cubes.
  5. Bring to a boil, then set the timer for thirty minutes, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. After thirty minutes, uncover the pot and add the chickpeas and red pepper. Taste and season with more salt as needed (if it tastes flat, add more). If you chose to use cooked whole grains, add them now. Cover and simmer for another twenty minutes.
  7. Uncover, stir in the kale, add cayenne pepper if desired, and serve.
Notes
  • Based on Heidi Swanson's farro soup in Super Natural Every Day.
  • This soup is vegan, but mighty tasty with a side of whole wheat toast slathered with goat cheese.
  • I have tried this soup with lentils and rice, and do not recommend substituting those ingredients for chickpeas or other whole grains. They both lose their texture and cook down to mush.
  • I prefer using farro as the whole grain because it requires less cooking time than wheat berries, spelt berries or kamut, so it can be cooked along with the soup. The soup is great with those other whole grains, but you'll want to start cooking those in a separate pot well before the farro; just add the whole grains along with the chickpeas so no ingredients are overcooked or lose their texture.
  • Heidi's original recipe calls for one tablespoons and two teaspoons curry powder (she prefers Madras curry powder). I tried it with some Tikka Masala curry powder, which was fine, but I definitely prefer red Thai curry paste.

 

Comments

  1. says

    This looks delicious!!! Love it. I too, am experiencing some tight jeans related crankiness, so I made my version last night. Your photos are gorgeous and those bowls are super cute!

  2. says

    My skinny jeans are now the muffin liners to my muffin top. It’s glorious.
    I just did a mental inventory of what’s in my fridge/cabinets and I have all the ingredients for this. Hooray!!!!! Totally make it this weekend!

  3. says

    This will be the perfect soup to break in my new pot once the weather cools down around here! Not only are my pants a little tight, but I’m going to Hawaii in March, so your recipe comes at just the right time. I like those bowls, they look like flowers! And is that your new cutting board and knife I spy?!

    • says

      Thanks, Heather! You have plenty of time before March. And yes, you did spy my new cutting board and knife! You’re so observant! I love them; you’ll probably see those pieces in every post hereafter.

  4. says

    You and me alike. I get super cranks when my pants don’t fit. I have been eating very healthy to shed some pounds for my cousin’s wedding. Will have to make this soup! I LOVE kale and chick peas in general.

  5. says

    I like your attitude! I’m all about moderation not deprivation, and this is a perfect example of clean eating without feeling like you’re being cheated out of the good stuff in life. Thanks for the inspiration!

    P.S. Great photos too!

  6. says

    Yummy! I love soup, even though our weather has been amazingly warm so far this year I’m still craving soups like this. I love the whole grains, although I’d probably have to use some other grain as I haven’t been able to find farro(not for lack of trying!) I have to say the sweet potatoes drew me in, they are so good in soup!

    • says

      Hey Heidi, I had a really hard time finding farro, too! I brought some home from my trip to Cleveland. I can’t tell a noticeable difference between farro and wheat berries, so those would be a great substitution. I would just cook the wheat berries separately and add them towards the end.

  7. says

    My skinny jeans are definitely tight with the top button un-buttoned… Thank god for the holidays being over and for kale! Love the red curry paste idea, I never thought of using it in a soup like this, but I will now.

  8. Grace says

    Oh boy! I just completed my grocery list for things to pick up on my walk home from work tonight :) I loooove soup! Can’t wait to try this recipe :D

  9. Kate King says

    one of my favorite winter stews is sweet potato & lentil…think I’ll have to switch out the lentils for chickpeas to make it similar to yours! yum!

  10. Brenda says

    The soup is amazing, we had it for sunday dinner. I didn’t have any kale so I used collards and red cabbage leaves from the garden. Thanks for your wonderful recipes, I check your site everyday for something new.

    • says

      Thank you for commenting, Brenda! I’m so happy to hear that you check my site often. I’ll try to post something in the next couple of days for you. :)

  11. Paula K says

    Made this tonite after work! It is so easy and flavors develop fast! My husband loved it too saying I was the best chef ever!!!! Thanks for sharing! Btw, I used a cup of uncooked barley and twice the amount of Thai curry paste because we like spice! Very good!

    • says

      I’m so glad you and your husband loved the soup! I just cooked barley for the first time this morning. I expected it to be a little chewy like wheat berries or farro, but it’s not! I’m already scheming up recipes for it. That was gutsy, doubling the curry paste—the spicier, the better, in my opinion, but I try to tone it down for my readers! I’ll add even more curry paste next time!

  12. says

    looks perfectly hearty and healthy! I will have to try this and I am going through a phase of making a big pot/bowl of something to have through the week when I don’t feel like cooking.

  13. says

    I just made the soup tonight! It was SO good. I omitted the farro because I was in a pinch and didn’t get a chance to run to the co-op to see if they had any but the soup was just as good without it. Thank god for Pinterest because I wouldn’t have found your blog without it. Count me in as a loyal reader!

  14. says

    I bought what I needed last night and am making this tonight!! I am BEYOND excited. I got wheat berries though instead of farro (thanks for making that suggestion).

  15. says

    I made this soup last night and it was delicious! It is definitely going to be a staple dish for me and you now have a loyal follower. The only thing I would advise to anyone making this dish is that as delicious as it is- the recipe as is packs a punch with the sodium (vegetable broth, curry paste)- when I make this again, I’m going to omit sprinkling the salt in the beginning- the soup will have enough of it by the end.

    • says

      So glad to hear you’re following, Alex! You have a good point on sodium—I actually used sodium-free veggie bouillon cubes instead of regular veggie broth, but I added salt liberally, so who knows how it turned out. The reasoning for sprinkling salt in the beginning is to bring out the flavor of the onions and help them release water, but of course that step is up to you!

        • says

          You’re welcome, Alex! I like the Rapunzel brand. Heidi Swanson recommended that brand in one of her books—it’s been easy to find and it’s even less expensive than canned veggie broth. I dare say it tastes better, too!

  16. Elvi says

    I made this soup with what I had on hand, after seeing it recommended by Emeline at http://www.emelineandannabelle.com/news/daily/friday-sendoff-food-fight/ . It is awesome, even missing some ingredients that I didn’t have. I’m on my second bowl, and both my teenaged daughters like it too, so it’s a win all round. I substituted middle eastern ‘foul’ beans (sometimes called fava) for chick peas, yellow curry paste for red, and I didn’t put in any grains at all, so I reduced the broth. Oh, and I left out the red pepper and cayenne, too…. I’ll add some of the missing stuff the next time I make it, which will be very, very soon since we are almost out already! It’s good with a dollop of sour cream in it, too.

  17. Blair says

    LOVED IT!! We just had it for dinner… made it exactly like the recipe except for using butternut squash instead of sweet potato since I had one I needed to use… Soooooo good… The curry paste MAKES this recipe… Awesome!

  18. kirsten says

    Just made this tonight. So YUM! Thanks for sharing. Love this and the Food Matters stuff you are doing. I went ahead and got that book. Great ideas and recipes.

    Hope you are well!!

    • says

      Your comments always make me so happy, Kirsten! I love that you are a fan of the Food Matters Project. That cookbook is one of my very favorites, if not my VERY favorite!

  19. Mark Koch says

    Hi Kate

    Just made this for my wife, my son and his girlfriend. It turned out great. I couldn’t find Farro so I used some Bulgur instead. The Bulgur cooked up kind of chunky in the soup, so I took out about 1/4 of the soup before adding kale and pureed it and added it back, which made for a nicer overall consistency.

    Looking forward to having this all week, what a great healthy recipe.

    Had found your blog by googling this particular recipe. After having a chance to look around, really wanted to thank you for the care and effort you have put into all the great healthy recipes and beautiful professional layout.

  20. says

    I absolutely love your blog Kate…I have shared it on my Facebook page and have passed it on to my sister and a dear fellow vegetarian friend who both have replied with excitement.

    Last night I made your sweet potato, kale and chick pea soup…i made a few changes used paprika and turmeric instead of red curry paste(not a fan of curry), I added a small amount of white wine and used Santina pasta(tiny stars) …it was absolutely delicious!

    I also made your Macaroons minus the chocolate…I am making more today…so so good!! I may try 50/50 honey and maple syrup.

    Thank you so much! Looking forward to making more of your recipes.

    • says

      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing my blog, Kris. I’m delighted to hear that you are enjoying my recipes. Please let me know how the others turn out. Happy holidays!

  21. Deborah says

    I’m making this soup for the first time, I’m on a low sodium “heart healthy” diet so I didn’t add salt and I used low sodium broth. It smells delicious!

  22. Kate says

    Made the soup on a chilly, gray day. It was delicious! Loved the kick from the curry paste and cayenne. This is my new favorite winter dish. Thanks!

  23. Gracie Fred says

    I made this soup many times last winter, and now I’m back for more! It really is so good. I was lucky enough to find farro at my grocery store, but I also tried a version with wheat berries–that was good too! I’m making a pot of this now, and will divide it up into glass jars to bring for lunch at work. I usually have quite an appetite at lunch, so I’m throwing some extra beans this time–one can of garbanzo and one can of great northern white beans. Hopefully the extra beans won’t overpower the flavor and I’ll stay satisfied longer. Thanks for this tasty winter treat. :)

    • says

      Thanks, G.Fred. I’ve been craving this soup all winter and might just have to make some after I get back from my conference trip next week. I’m feeling a little fluffy after the holidays and I think this soup is just the ticket, filling but not too heavy. Good idea with the extra beans! P.s. miss you, hope to see you sometime soon.

  24. Victoria says

    This soup looks amazing! The only thing is I’m not really a fan of grains in soups. Do you think it would turn out all right if I left them out? Should I use less broth? Or substitute in more veggies? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Victoria, please forgive my delayed response. I really do love farro in soups because it doesn’t get mushy like pasta or rice. However, I think you could leave out the farro. Either less brother or more veggies would balance it out, I think. Good thinking!

      • Victoria says

        You know, I think I will try the farro. If it’s not really my thing, I can always make it again without. There’s a lot of winter left here in Chicago!

  25. mary-blanton says

    OBSESSED! Made this tonight, but substituted barley for the farro because it is what I had in the pantry! Took a bit of extra liquid but was SO flavorful and wholesome. Perfect for this chilly night!

  26. Lana says

    Just made this last night – doubled the recipe. I often make double batches of soup on Sundays so that my boyfriend and I can enjoy it the entire week. We both have big appetites and don’t get tired of eating the same thing for several days. Also I had all the ingredients besides the red curry paste and didn’t want to go to the store, so I substituted Sriracha (!) along with a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce! I was a little afraid of how it would turn out, but it’s pretty good, especially the next day. I can’t wait to make is using red curry paste, though. I suspect that will be better.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Lana! I’m glad you both enjoyed the soup. I bet sriracha turned out pretty well, though I think you might like it even better with red curry paste! Hope you’ll give it a try before the weather gets too warm.

  27. Lindsay says

    I have made this soup twice now and it is absolutely incredible! We had a soup cook-off at work last week, and this recipe was a huge hit. I couldn’t find farro, so I did use rice, but I cooked it separately and would add it to the soup in the morning before work and had no problem with consistency. At the cook off, I left rice on the side for people to add in as they please.

    All in all – my favourite homemade soup to date. Definitely a keeper!!

  28. Marissa says

    Currently enjoying a big bowl of this, so good! I was low on vegetable broth so I added a can of coconut milk, super creamy and delicious. I love all your recipes, keep em’ coming!

  29. Julie says

    I have been making this soup on a regular basis now for 2 years because it makes such a healthy and satisfying lunch! I often cook a big batch on Sundays and store in single serving dishes so i can easily grab and take to the office throughout the week. It also freezes well if you want to save for later. The last time I made it, I sauteed the onions by themselves first and then pureed them in a food processor. Then I sauteed the onions and sweet potato together as in your recipe. I found the pureed onions added a lot of depth to the broth.

    Thanks again for all your wonderful recipes!

    • says

      Julie, I’m delighted to hear that you enjoy this soup so much. I certainly got my fill of it during the recipe testing process, but I think it’s about time I made another batch! Thank you for commenting. I’ve never tried puréeing onions, I’m intrigued!

  30. sara o says

    Just made this soup for my husband, baby nurse (we just had twins!) and my in-laws: it was a HUGE hit!! thank you! loved it!

  31. Quinn says

    Just made this last night for my husband after a weekend full of brownie sundaes :) (literally ate brownie sundaes for dinner two nights in a row)…you only live once right?!? The soup was delicious!! I used quinoa instead of farro as that’s what I had on hand. I just recently happened upon your blog and I absolutely love it. Your recipes, photos and stories are fantastic. I can’t wait to continue trying other recipes! Keep up the great work!

    • says

      Honestly, I ate pretzels and ice cream for lunch yesterday. No regrets. :) Glad you’re enjoying this redeeming soup! Thanks for saying hello!

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