cabbage soup with farro and onion

Rich stock, sweet tender cabbage and chewy farro are pulled together with a heavy shower of Parmigiano Reggiano and peppery drizzles of olive oil.

  • Author: Joshua McFadden
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup farro
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano


  1. Cut out the cabbage core and finely chop it. Slice the rest of the cabbage into 1/8-inch ribbons. Set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add farro and cook, stirring frequently, until toasty and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to the large pot. Add the onion and cabbage core and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the shredded cabbage and thyme. Cover the pot and let steam for a few minutes, then toss the cabbage to help it wilt. Cook over medium low heat, covered, until the cabbage is very tender and sweet, about 30 minutes.
  5. When the cabbage is ready, stir in the vinegar. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper.
  6. Add farro and chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the farro is tender.
  7. Add more chicken, if desired, to bring soup to desired consistency. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed. To serve, top with fresh parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.


serves 4 | recipe adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden


Keywords: farro soup, cabbage soup