Soup/ Vegetarian

Healthy Tuscan Peasant Soup

January 3, 2021 (Last Updated: January 6, 2021)

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Total time to make this recipe: 1 hour 40 minutes
bowl with legumes and cereal soup and a spoon

“Zuppa del Contadino” or Italian Peasant Soup, is a healthy and simple soup full of fibers and vegan. But it’s still hearty and cozy, perfect for winter. It has lentils, blackeye peas, split peas, mung beans, and cereals like farro and barley. But you can use any mix of legumes you have available.

Most of Italian-American recipes are influenced by Southern Italian cuisine which is very rich in flavor and calories. In a single dish there are many ingredients, herbs, spices. While Northern Italian cuisine, including Tuscan cuisine, is far more simple and humble. Very few ingredients to make simple but hearty and delicious recipes.

So if you’re used to complex recipes, this soup may seem too simple for you and you may think it’s flavorless. But please try it and you’ll find out that even a handful of ingredients can make a very flavorful and delicious meal.

overhead bowl with tuscan peasant soup next to two spoons

What is Peasant Soup?

Peasant soup or “Zuppa del Contadino” get its name from the simple ingredients which were easily available to peasants and farmers in ancient times when food was scarce.

The main ingredients of this soup are mixed legumes, cereals like farro and a base of Soffritto (Mirepoix) made with onions, celery, and carrots. Plus a couple of bay leaves. That’s it. The Soffritto and the bay leaves make the vegetable broth aromatic and the pulses give additional flavor and consistency. It’s a very healthy and vegan soup. Nothing fancy, but a very cozy winter meal to detox from all the holidays overeating.

bowl with raw legumes and cereals to make soup

How to make Peasant Soup

You first need to start with the Soffritto base by finely chopping (or pulsing in a blender) the carrots, celery, and onions. (On this post you can find all the details on how to make and freeze the Soffritto or Mirepoix).

Whether you use fresh or frozen soffritto, sauté at medium heat until the vegetables start to soften. Add the mixed legumes and cereals and add the vegetable stock or water to cover. Then add the bay leaves and cook at low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add more water or broth if it becomes too dense too soon and season with salt and pepper to taste only at the very end.

Note: the mixed legumes I have didn’t need any pre-soaking, but depending on what you’re going to use, check the package recommendations.

My mix of legumes and cereals contained more or less equal quantity of:

  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Split Peas
  • Farro
  • Barley
  • Red Lentils
  • Yellow Lentils
  • Mung Beans
bowl with legumes and cereal soup and a spoon

The Recipe

If you like this recipe, try also these other soups:

bowl with legumes and cereal soup and a spoon

Healthy Tuscan Peasant Soup

A hearty and cozy winter soup full of fibers and vegan. This healthy soup is full of legumes, cereals and flavor.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Jessica – Cooking my Dreams

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Soffritto, see notes
  • 1 cup Mixed Legumes and Cereals, see notes
  • 2 cups Vegetable stock
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Parmigiano cheese, optional

Instructions

  • In a large pot, drizzle the olive oil and add the minced garlic and the minced Soffritto of carrots, celery, and onions.
  • Sautè at medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften (not brown).
  • Add the mixed legumes and cereals to the pot, then add the vegetable stock and the bay leaves.
  • Bring to a simmer then turn the heat to low and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add more water or stock if it becomes too dense too soon.
  • Season with salt and black pepper to taste only at the very end before serving.
  • Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese on top and with a slice of crunchy toasted bread.

Notes

Soffritto: Soffritto or Mirepoix, is made of equal parts of carrots, celery, and onions. You can finely chop them by hand or give them a quick pulse in a blender. (On this post you can find all the details on how to make and freeze the Soffritto or Mirepoix).
Mixed Legumes: My mix of legumes and cereals contained a more or less equal quantity of:
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Split Peas
  • Farro
  • Barley
  • Red Lentils
  • Yellow Lentils
  • Mung Beans
But you can substitute any of the above with whatever you have available.

Nutrition

Calories: 369 kcal | Carbohydrates: 65 g | Protein: 25 g | Fat: 1 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Sodium: 948 mg | Fiber: 30 g | Vitamin A: 538 IU | Iron: 7 mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: healthy recipe, vegan soup, vegetarian soup
Have you tried this recipe?Snap a photo and tag @jess.cookingmydreams or use the hashtag #cookingmydreams!

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