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Greens and Grains Soup

Three stacked white bowls and the top one filled with greens and grains soup, and finished with Parmesan.
This greens and grains soup is hearty, healthy, easy to make, and endlessly customizable with your favorite sturdy greens and whole grains.
Molly Watson

Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr
4 to 6 servings
232 kcal


  • 1 cup whole grains, such as barley, farro, spelt, wheat berries, or any type of brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt plus more to taste
  • 10 ounces greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, or bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Rinse the grains and place them in a medium pot along with 2 teaspoon salt and enough water to generously cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and maintain a gentle but steady simmer until the grains are tender to the bite. The exact amount of time will depend on the grain used, from 15 minutes for quinoa to 60 minutes for wheat berries. Drain the grains and set aside.
  • If using greens with thick stalks, such as Swiss chard or kale, cut the stalks from the leaves. Finely chop the stalks, then cut the leaves into thin ribbons, keeping the stalks and leaves separate. If using greens without thick stalks, simply chop the leaves into ribbons or bite-size pieces.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the stalks, if using, and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock or vegetable broth plus the drained, cooked grains and bring almost to a boil. Add the greens (stalks and leaves), stir to combine, and cook until the greens are wilted and tender, just 1 or 2 minutes for spinach, 5 minutes for chard or bok choy, and up to 10 minutes for hearty kale.
  • Season with salt and a grind or two of pepper and, if desired, a drizzle of oil. Ladle it up while warm. Leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Greens And Grains Soup Variation

Beans, Greens And Grains Soup
Add 2 cups (430 grams) or one 14- to 15-ounce (400- to 430-grams) can cooked, drained beans such as white beans, chickpeas, or cranberry beans to the soup when you add the cooked grains.
Umami Greens And Grains Soup
Drop a Parmesan cheese rind into the soup while the greens simmer and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Eat Your Veggies, Greens, And Grains Soup
Use chopped onion, chopped celery, and/or chopped carrot in place of or in addition to the greens’ stalks.
Hot Greens And Grains Soup
Spice things up by adding 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or 1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes with the garlic.
Citrusy Greens And Grains Soup
Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon at the end and/or a bit of grated lemon zest.