The holidays are almost here, but I’ve been eating like it’s Thanksgiving for the past few weeks. Food blogger problems! I’m seeking balance in the meals in between recipe testing by 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. I shared this recipe five years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites.
I’m counting down the minutes until I can heat up a big bowlful of this soup for lunch. It’s spicy, filling, satisfying, and overflowing with so-called power foods and whole grain goodness. The Thai red curry paste might seem like an unlikely pairing for sweet potatoes, kale and farro, but somehow it just works.
I love this soup because each main ingredient contributes flavor while retaining its texture. The farro stays nice and chewy, the chickpeas don’t turn to mush like lentils might, the sweet potatoes retain their delicate bite, and the kale never wilts into nothingness like spinach tends to do.
While remaking the soup so I could take photos of it, I adjusted the ingredients and cooking method a bit. I used a fresh red bell pepper instead of chopping up roasted bell pepper, and found that the soup didn’t need nearly as long on the stove as the recipe originally suggested.
If you’re craving more hearty soups to get you through the holidays, check out my soup archives. Don’t miss the eight soup recipes in my cookbook, Love Real Food. Those soups are downright magical, if I can say so myself.
Vegan Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
This hearty and delicious soup is perfect for warming up. It’s an easy, nutritious, one-pot meal that makes great leftovers, too! Recipe yields 6 bowls of 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.
Recipe based on Heidi Swanson’s farro soup in Super Natural Every Day.
Serving suggestions: This soup is vegan, but mighty tasty with a side of whole wheat toast slathered with goat cheese.
*Thai red curry paste: Look for it in the Asian/international section of the grocery store. I like Thai Kitchen brand, which is vegan (some brands contain shrimp). You can substitute 1 tablespoon curry powder for the curry paste, for a totally different flavor.
**Whole grain notes: 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.
▸ Nutrition Information
Here’s the original photo from 2012.
Think this would work in the instant pot? Saute the veggies then pressure cook for 25 min?
Hi Roby, sorry I don’t have Instant Pot instructions and can’t provide direction without trying it myself.
I don’t know either, but if you try it, I would not cook that long. The vegetables will probably break down too much. Everything is cooked, so it might need more like 5 minutes, and I’d add the kale after pressure cooking. It should wilt.
I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I hope to this weekend.
Perfect winter soup. I added butternut squash and omitted the farro. Delicious! Thank you for the great recipe.
I’m glad you think so, Rachel! I appreciate your review.
This soup was great. I topped it with some diced avocado, which added a nice creamy touch.
Thank you, Alex! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Great recipe. I had to improvise a bit. I don’t like red curry paste, so I used turmeric paste and tomato paste. For the grain I used quinoa. Excellent textures and flavours. Will be adding this to the soup rotation.
I’ve made this soup twice this winter. It’s so good and I think the flavors are even better the next day.
I agree! It’s delicious leftover.
I had sweet potatoes that needed to be used and this soup was a delicious way to use them up. I may have cut the sweet potatoes too small so they got a little too mushy but the soup was yummy! Looking forward to the leftovers this week!
A great soup for leftovers! Thank you for your review, Lisalen.
This was incredible. Took a little bit longer to cook the kale than 5 minutes but was worth the wait. I ate it with a side of sourdough toast smeared with a Laughing Cow wedge. This recipe continued the Cookie and Kate success streak in my house! Thanks for consistently yummy recipes.
I’m glad you found it worth the wait! I appreciate your review.
This soup was like a big warm hug in our cold Minnesota February! I wasn’t sure if
I’d like a brothy soup but this one has converted me. So quick to put together too. Thank you for this recipe!
Hi, Kate! I love all of your recipes. Your site is pretty much all we use! The store was out of red curry paste, so i got roasted red chili paste by Thai Kitchen. Do you think that will be ok or is it a totally different flavor?
Thank you so much!
Hi Lauren, it will be different. It may still give nice flavor, but I’m not sure without trying it myself. Sorry!
Pantry subs: green curry paste and collard greens instead of red curry and kale. Next time I will add the sweet potatoes after the farro is almost done so that it won’t be so soft. I do think that kale would be less bitter than the collard greens. Delicious soup!
Great flavours and textures. I used spelt berries and broccoli florets, as I did not have kale and wanted to keep something green in color.
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Nathalie.
one of my faves! thank you!
Does anybody know if I can add unsweetened coconut milk to this and not ruin it? TIA
I keep a bag of coconut milk cubes in the freezer for this very reason. Make the recipe as written, ladle out a cup and mix in a cube. If it doesn’t work, you’ve only wasted a cup….. and a coconut cube.
This soup is so delicious! Hearty, satisfying and easy to make on a weeknight. We used the Thai Kitchen red curry paste the first time, but it seemed bland and we had to add a lot of cayenne to kick it up. Since then, a friend suggested Maesri brand Thai red curry paste. It has amazing heat and authentic flavor – highly recommend if you like spice! We used half of a 4 oz can and didn’t need to add any cayenne.
Thank you for sharing! Yes, that curry paste can vary for some. I appreciate you taking the time to review.
I was looking for a recipe with sweet potato because I had one I needed to use and chose this recipe. Then I realized every other ingredient was one I had and needed to use, so I didn’t even need to go to the store, it was made for me this week! Also, so delicious. I will be making this again for sure!
I love when that happens! Thanks for taking the time to comment and review, Kaitlin!
Another amazing recipe! I added a jar of pinto beans, a chopped carrot & a hint of sherry. I added a bit more vegetable stock to counteract my additions. It was delicious. The Thai curry paste was such a wonderful delight in this soup. I have lunch for the whole week now thanks to my leftovers :)
Thank you, Megan!
Really good! I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand so I made it a couple of weeks ago. I froze a few servings, so I’m still enjoying it. I like it with some crumbled goat cheese (similar to your serving suggestion). Will make again!
That’s great, Cathy! I appreciate your review.
Is there a bean you’d recommend to replace the chick peas?
Hi, you can replace with a white bean you may like.
I save recipes all the time and never make them, lol, but this sounded appealing so I went right out to found farro and Thai red paste (which I’d never used before) and made it. I squeezed some lemon juice after filling my bowl, as I usually do. The soup was tasty and filling! Thanks for the recipe.
You’re welcome! Thank you for your review.
Could this work in a slow cooker? If so, will you please provide instructions? Thanks!
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. I would recommend still cooking the vegetables as instructed for best flavor. If you try it, let me know!
I made this last week. It tasted like a delicious curry, so I ended up adding a can of coconut milk at the end and served it over rice. It was super heavy with the farro, rice and potato (…don’t judge, we were verging on hangry and it was a cold night..). Loved it. I’ll make it again for sure.
Really enjoying trying so many of your recipes – thank you! – but this for me is just the best of the best! I live in the UK and at first couldn’t find farro anywhere, so I used freekeh, which is easier to find here. I used same amount and cooked for same length of time & it worked great! I’ve since ordered some farro & (for me) the freekeh works just as well. Thanks so much for sharing so many delicious recipes
I’m glad you adapted it with what you could find and enjoyed it, Helen!
How long will this last for leftovers? 5 days?
Hi Tim, Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days.
We added some black beans and lime pepper. The lime pepper made a big difference! We are loving this soup.
I am gluten free. What can i use instead of farro/spelt berries/kamut?
Hi Maddy! I know brown rice works well in this soup. I hope you enjoy it!
Wow! This was insanely delicious! I used cannelini beans and added a little more vegetable stock. Perfect balance of flavors.
Absolutely delicious! I used Patak’s Hot Indian Curry paste, Brown Rice and added a can of coconut milk at the end with the cayenne. SO GOOD!
I’m glad you loved it, Denene! I appreciate your review.
I discovered your website for the first time JUST 10 minutes ago & I am SOOooo thrilled ,,,I don’t recall how it was that it happened but I read your BRILLIANT suggestion re cornstarch for crisping cauliflower…I cannot wait to start scrolling through your whole wonderfulwebsite( this way I can rationalize my HUGE procrastination habit a bit more positively) THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU & now being in my life in such a delicious way !! Jeri Elliott Canada
I followed instructions, but cooked in the instant pot at high pressure for 10 minutes before adding in boiled einkorn wheat berries, chickpeas, and spinach (didn’t have kale on hand)! Next time I would probably go with 6 or 7 minutes at high pressure. Was delicious!!! Will be adding to meal rotation. I added some lime juice and cayenne pepper to my personal bowl.
I’m happy it still turned out, Megan! Thank you for your review.
Made this recipe for lunch today. It was super easy and came together quickly. I squeezed some fresh lemon juice on top and added some cilantro to each bowl. Felt nourishing and healthy. Highly recommend!
I’m excited you enjoyed it, Sabeena! Thank you for your review.
This soup is delicious! Nice warm spices on a cold fall night. It came together quite quickly, surprisingly quickly, which was great! I used quinoa but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Thanks for the suggestion on the curry paste brand, that’s very helpful! Definitely a keeper, thanks Kate!
You’re welcome, Kelly! Thank you for your review.
Made 3× Recipe. It’s Great!. Using as meal prep for lunchs to stave up my high blood pressure cause from unhealthy eating habbits. I pair it with my homemade Thai Draggon Hot Sauce and spice things up a bit. Thank so much!
I’m glad you loved it, Andrew! I appreciate your review.
My husband and I loved this soup. I used baby kale so it cooked pretty quickly. I did make a few additions. I added a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes at the end and also squeezed some lemon juice into it. I used a whole lemon as I had doubled the recipe. I also added about a teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper. Very delicious! A keeper!
I’m glad you hear this was a hit, Gail! I appreciate your review.
It’s so good but my curry paste must be high powered. It’s so spicy. Any way to tone it down?
Oh No! you could try some cream, cheese, or coconut milk with eat serving to see if that tones it down a bit?
This turned out great! And I love that you built flexibility into the instructions; I used quinoa as my grain. Really satisfying soup!
My family is gradually eating more vegetarian, so we have really enjoyed your blog and trying various recipes! Specifically, trying to cook one veggie soup per week. This was an intriguing combination on the page (we love farro), so we tried it. Will admit we added both more chili paste and more cayenne, but we are Texans and should be forgiven ;) Great flavors and warmed us right up this winter. Had the chance to use purple sweet potatoes and was beautiful in the bowl.
I’m excited you enjoyed it, Kelsey! Thank you for your review.
Delish! Didn’t have curry paste so used curry powder per your instruction. Perfect comfort food for this chilly January night.
Made this yesterday when the temp dip to -11! It is delicious! I added the cayenne for a little extra heat and a bit of lemon juice at the end for brightness.
Love your recipes. Do you think pearl barley would work instead of farro?
You could try it. Although, the cooking time will change. Be sure to look at the cooking instructions.
Edwin Chris Kumendong
Thanks for making it so easy. See you again at church next Sabbath.
You’re the best.
This is a keeper – so so good. I served it with nan bread on the side. Followed the recipe exactly but it’s definitely one of those recipes where substitutions could work. This soup will definitely be in heavy rotation here.
Great to hear, Peggy! Thank you for your review.