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Many slow cooker recipes are bait-and-switch (and some, like this White Chicken Chili are somewhere in between). The dream is to fill a slow cooker with ingredients, turn it on, and hours later have a delicious meal. But so often you have to brown this and sauté that before you begin. Not so with this Farro, White Bean and Vegetable Soup.

The idea for this soup came from an incredible meal we had at Trattoria Sbandati here in Bend. We were there with a group and I can’t remember who ordered it. But I do know that we all ended up digging our spoons in for a bite. So. Delicious. 

I came home determined to recreate it, a perfect companion to our other favorite Italian soups, Ribollita and Pasta e Fagioli. But I never imagined how easy it would be.

If you can’t find a smoked ham hock, then dice and fry a couple of bacon slices instead. (See, what did I tell you, bait-and-switch.) Or skip the meat altogether and throw in a couple of parmesan rinds from your freezer. You have those, right? Never throw a rind away – they’re great for enriching soups. If you don’t go through enough parmesan to save your own, often you can buy them inexpensively from your local cheesemonger.

If you’re having weather like we are, this Farro, White Bean and Vegetable Soup is just the thing to make for dinner this week.


Farro, White Bean and Vegetable Soup

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 hours 20 minutes
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 256
Servings: 12 people
If you want to make this soup vegetarian, use vegetable broth and parmesan rinds instead of pork and chicken broth.


  • 1 pound dry cannellini beans salt soaked overnight (see recipe notes)
  • 1 cup dry farro emmer or spelt berries
  • 1 smoked ham hock (or 3 bacon slices diced and fried until crisp)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
  • 3 carrots coarsely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery coarsely chopped
  • 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 head cabbage coarsely chopped

To finish:

  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other good parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • chopped flat leaf parsley


  • Add soaked beans through cabbage, in order, to the bowl of a large slow cooker. Carefully stir, just to make sure the broth makes it to the bottom.
  • Cover and cook on high 6 hours, or until beans are tender. (Start checking bean tenderness after 5 hours.)
  • Lift ham hock from the soup and use a fork to remove and shred the meat – add the meat back to the soup and stir. Discard bone.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve soup topped with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a generous swirl of olive oil, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.


  1. See this post for instructions to salt soak beans.
  2. Note that nutrition information does not include finishing ingredients.


Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 843mg | Potassium: 769mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3051IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. debbie says:

    can you substitute garbanzo beans or navy beans instead of cannellini beans

    1. Marissa says:

      Hi Debbie. Yes, absolutely!