1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or safflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
5 cups water or vegetable stock ( or half of each)
3 cups sliced beets, tops removed, not peeled
1/2 tablespoon fresh or dried dill
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zest, fine
sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)
hard-boiled egg, sliced
Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and onion, stir, cover, and sweat the onion until soft. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and mix well, continuing to cook for another minute.
Gradually add the water or stock, beets, and dill. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. While the soup is cooking, in a separate small pan add 1/2 cup of split emmer farro to 1 1/2 cups of water. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, covered, until moisture is gone.
Puree 1 cup of the soup with the split emmer farro, lemon juice, and zest. Stir back into the soup pot. Add salt to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt if desired. Garnish each serving with parsley and sliced hard boil egg.