Vegetable Bean Barley Soup

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 1 1/2 hours

Serves:8

By Veronica Patenaude
This is another one of my favorites because it is so hearty. The beets add a great dynamic to the soup and release some natural sweetness into it.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups dried pearl barley
  • 10 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 medium golden beets, chopped in 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 16 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil OR 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tbps fresh chopped oregano OR 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups sliced fresh greens (chard, collards, kale, cabbage, or spinach)
  • 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Herbamare or sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of garlic powder (optional)
  • sprinkle of onion powder (optional)

Directions

Rinse and soak the barley while you are prepping your ingredients. (If you pre-soak the barley for a few hours, cooking time will be reduced.) Drain. Place the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, beets, mushrooms and 4 cups of the broth in a large soup pot. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are softened slightly. Add remaining broth, drained barley, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, basil and oregano.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until barley and beets are soft. Add greens (unless using spinach) and beans, season to taste and cook for 5-10 minutes. (If using spinach, add it and heat through at the end of cooking time.)

Hints: For a gluten free soup, omit the barley and use rice, quinoa, millet or add extra beans.