Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Challah

By Jennifer

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Challah 

If you use regular barley (versus quick-cooking) increase the broth to 6 cups, and the soup cooking time to 40 minutes.  If you make it ahead, wait to add the spinach until you reheat it before serving, and you may need to add a little more broth as the barley will soak it up.  You can enjoy this soup with or without the poached eggs.

Serves 4 adults, or 2 adults and a handful of kids, with leftovers.

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus 1 TBS kosher salt for eggs
  • 7 – 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (if large, cut in half crosswise  and then slice)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 TBS distilled white vinegar
  • 4 eggs

Onions in the pot

Onions are tender and turning brown

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.

Adding mushrooms and thyme

Add the mushrooms and thyme;  cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes.

Adding remaining ingredients except spinach

Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, barley, 1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Barley is cooked

Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it’s wilted.

Adding spinach

Heat 2 quarts water, 1 TBS salt and 1 TBS vinegar in a wide, medium pot until it’s simmering.

Crack each egg in a separate bowl (you can re-use the bowl)

Crack one egg into a small bowl.

Slip egg into simmering water

Gently slide the egg into the water;  repeat with remaining eggs.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

Serve soup with a poached egg on top.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – from Gourmet magazine

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

This particular week I couldn’t find Napa cabbage at my grocery store, so I used generic “Chinese” cabbage.

  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 TBS low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 3 TBS finely chopped chives (I use kitchen scissors)
  • 1 lb. Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 6 radishes, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally

Whisking salad dressing

Whisk together the dressing ingredients, buttermilk through chives.

Radishes, celery, Chinese cabbage

Ready for dressing

Combine cabbage, radishes and celery in a serving bowl;  toss with dressing.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing


Hearty Bean and Barley Soup with Rosemary Bread

By Jennifer

Hearty Bean and Barley Soup with Rosemary Bread

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

Steeping the broth with rosemary, garlic and red pepper

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.

Mashing one cup of kidney beans

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.

Carrots, celery and onion in the pot

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.

Everything but the spinach is in

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.

Adding the spinach

Add the spinach and black pepper to taste, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Soup is ready

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top and with the Rosemary Bread.

Dinner is ready

(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.)