Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup

I’ve been eating like it’s Thanksgiving even though the holidays are almost here. food-blogger issues By stuffing myself with my favorite veggie-packed dinners in between recipe testing, I’m attempting to strike a balance with my meals.

Consider this soup made with sweet potatoes, kale, chickpeas, and farro, which is difficult to describe in fewer words. This recipe was one I shared five years ago, and I still love it.

I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to reheat a sizable bowl of this soup for lunch. It’s hot, filling, fulfilling, and bursting with the virtues of whole grains and so-called power foods. Even though sweet potatoes, kale, and farro might seem like an odd combination with Thai red curry paste, it somehow works.

The key ingredients in this soup each add flavor while maintaining their texture, which is why I adore it. The sweet potatoes maintain their delicate bite, the kale never wilts into oblivion like spinach usually does, the farro stays smooth and chewy, the chickpeas don’t turn to mush like lentils might, and so on.

I modified the ingredients and cooking procedure when remaking the soup so I could photograph it. Instead of cutting up roasted bell pepper, I used a fresh red bell pepper and discovered that the soup didn’t need to cook for nearly as long as the recipe called for.

Check out my soup archives if you need more filling soups to get you through the holidays. The eight soup recipes in my cookbook, Love Real Food, are not to be missed. Those soups, if I may say so myself, are quite wonderful.


  • 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)


  1. 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.
  2. Add the curry paste and stir until the vegetables are coated and the curry is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the farro, if that’s your grain of choice. Add the vegetable broth and water, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.