Not a Bland Chicken Soup with Farro

Chicken Soup with Farro

The doctor said to eat bland food for about one to two weeks. Hopefully, my minor stomach ailment will work itself out in that time period. She recommended rice, pasta or bread while avoiding spicy, heavy protein and/or dairy-based meals. After all, the goal is to eat easily digestible food, such as chicken soup.

I’m not crazy about chicken soup. It’s tasteless for a good reason, because spices can further irritate an upset stomach. Someone will recommend ginger soda or one of many variations of lemon-ginger tea. But, when there’s a stomach ailment — save the acid and spice for nasal congestion-related illnesses. And contrary to popular belief, most ginger sodas are artificially-flavored and have too much sweeteners (I’ve said this before — all types of sweeteners are still sugar, and most of us are guilty of eating too much of it). I prefer plain, unsweetened sparkling water followed by a glass of tap water. Hydration is essential for minor stomach ailments. Since everyone’s illness is different, always see a doctor for personalized advice about nutrition when not feeling well.

The same doctor who recommended a bland food diet, suggested a hint of soda works wonders for stomach ailments. I’m not much of a soda fan. Old-fashion chicken soup and sparkling mineral water is all need right now.

The recipe I’m sharing isn’t quite a bland chicken soup. It’s flavored with thyme and gently sweeten with peas. The carrots are cooked with a subtle bite. But the true star of the recipe isn’t shredded chicken. It’s the homemade chicken stock. It has a fresh, simple and rich flavor to sip directly from a bowl or cup. I love ladling the soup over a bowl of rice, farro, pasta or whatever doctor-recommended bland starch.

Ingredients for chicken stock
Ingredients for chicken stock

Let’s be honest. When you’re too sick, pray there’s homemade chicken stock in the freezer, a good friend to bring a large cup of bland chicken soup from a deli, or order Asian soup from a delivery service. With a minor stomach ailment, I was able to start the recipe by making chicken stock from scratch. It’s a process that takes at least five hours. Once the chicken stock was ready, all the steps for making the rest of the soup total less than 15 minutes (This is why it’s important to keep homemade chicken stock in the freezer).

Less than two weeks later, I was enjoying spicy food with friends. Maybe my old-fashioned chicken soup with homemade stock made a difference in the recovery time.

Chicken Soup with Farro

Chicken Soup with Farro


  • 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 to 4 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  • 3 to 4 carrots, thickly sliced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh black pepper, to taste
  • (Optional) A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (recipe here)
  • A few twigs of fresh thyme wrapped in twine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cooked emmer farro, rice or pasta, tossed with optional butter


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add the olive oil. After a few seconds, stir in the onion and celery. If necessary, season onions with sea salt and black pepper.
  2. When the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes), stir in the carrots, optional crushed red pepper, garlic, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf and chicken. If necessary, adjust seasoning.
  3. Bring ‘soup’ to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook until the peas are no longer frozen (about 3 to 5 minutes).
  4. Uncover and stir in the parsley for about one minute.
  5. Ladle soup over individual bowls filled with warm farro, rice or pasta.
  6. Garnish with parsley and enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Not a Bland Chicken Soup with Farro

  • April 4, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    I can’t wait to try this. I haven’t cooked with farro lately and I have been looking for a new recipe to cook it again. Thank you!

  • February 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Regarding your comments in Successful Farming:
    Finally someone got it right.

    Donna Gentry
    BA ’73
    MS ’75

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