The soup is my adaptation of an old either Cooking Light or Eating Well recipe, can’t remember which, but it’s great, and freezes well, too, so if you’ve got a big enough pot, make a double batch and freeze half for another day.
This dinner serves 4 – 6, depending on the size of the people and their appetites.
Hearty Bean and Barley Soup
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 rosemary sprigs, at least a few inches long
- 2 15.5-oz. cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup barley
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated Parmesan to serve
In a large stockpot combine the broth, red pepper, garlic and rosemary, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the broth simmer for about 15 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, take 1 cup of the beans and mash them in a small bowl, using a fork. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a large bowl or another pot and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in the original stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 4 – 5 minutes, until the onion starts to turn translucent.
Add the broth, tomatoes and their juice, barley and the beans, both mashed and whole. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to medium-low, simmering for 20 – 25 minutes, until the barley is almost tender.
Add the spinach and black pepper to taste, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top and with the Rosemary Bread.
(Pretty much all soups taste better after they’ve sat a bit; if you choose to make this soup ahead, and you find at serving time that the barley’s soaked up most of the broth, just add a little broth or water when you reheat it.)