This Vegetable Barley Soup is packed with vegetables and barley in a tomatoey broth that’s both healthful and soul-satisfying!
One thing I love most about fall is that it’s also soup season! The soup-making process alone is therapeutic but slurping a steaming bowl of such goodness is like giving your soul a warm hug.
A personal chef client left me a voicemail some years back about soup which I’ll never forget.
She had had a really bad day. One of the menu items I prepared for her on my last visit was a soup. On the day she called, I recall the weather was cold, rainy and simply awful. Her voice cracked in the voicemail as she told me how much having that soup to come home to meant to her and then said, “It feels as though somebody loves me.”
Cue the tears on my end of the phone!
My clients tell me one of the reasons they need a personal chef is because they will go to the grocery store or farmer’s market and stock up on gorgeous produce with great intentions of eating healthfully all week. Life happens and by the end of the week, they end up with uneaten produce that’s not all that gorgeous anymore. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the same thing happens to us and I cook for a living! So, one Saturday night after a busy week, this veggie-packed soup was born.
I prefer to cook the barley separately and add it to the soup at the end. To save a step, you may wish to cook the barley right in the soup. However, the barley will absorb some of the liquid and the starch will thicken the soup, so you may want to have some extra broth on hand.
As with most soups, they taste better the next day after all the flavors have gotten to know each other. So, make a bit pot of this vegetable barley soup and reheat as needed. Freeze it or share it with a friend who needs a some TLC.
Go forth and hug a soul!
25 minPrep Time
45 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
1 cup pearled barley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 bag (10-ounce) angel hair coleslaw (or approximately 3 cups finely shredded cabbage)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups vegetable, chicken or beef broth (or more if needed)
2 cups tomato or vegetable juice
1 can (14.5-ounce) petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the water, add the barley and boil until the barley is tender but still al dente. Drain through a sieve and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often 5-6 minutes or until onion begins to soften. Add the celery and carrots and cook another 5-6 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook 2 minutes,
Add zucchini, yellow squash, coleslaw mix, garlic, broth, juice and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover slightly and simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 25-30 minutes. Add the barley, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning as desired.
For a gluten-free version, use quinoa or brown rice.