Faro is an ancient grain, and though wheat based, tolerated well by those with gluten intolerance. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) have the highest iron content of all the legumes. Faro cooks quickly in about 15 minutes. You can find it in most natural food stores. It has a nice chunky texture and nutty flavor; very versatile.

8 cps vegetable stock or broth
¾ cp faro or (you can use regular pearl barley), rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 14 ½ oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cp dry white wine
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 T fennel seeds, crushed
6 cps coarsely chopped fresh kale leaves
½ to 1 tsp crushed red pepper
3 T lemon juice
freshly ground pepper (optional)
chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

In soup pot bring the veggie stock to boiling. Add the faro or barley. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add garbanzo beans, undrained tomatoes, wine, garlic, thyme and fennel seeds to pot. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add kale and crushed red pepper. Cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until kale and barley (or spelt) are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in lemon juice. If desired, season to taste with black pepper. Remove thyme sprigs before serving. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with parsley.

This recipe is from Chef Mary Karlin of the Ramekins Culinary School.