Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vegetable Barley Soup

I ALWAYS use a food processor when I'm making a soup--or anything else!--that has a lot of chopped, diced, minced, etc. vegetables and condiments. The time it takes me to wash my food processor (it does go in the dishwasher, but the dishwasher clouds the bowl and dulls the blades!) is far less than the time I spend chopping all this stuff! Plus, I've noticed that, by the time it's cooked, I can't tell much difference in the appearance of the vegetable shapes between hand chopping and food processor chopping. And my mouth and stomach CERTAINLY don't notice! Ha!

1 Tbl. olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped 3-4 stalks celery, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
6 medium carrots (about 36 "baby" carrots), chopped

2 broccoli crowns or 15-20 broccoli florets (or a medium peeled turnip!), chopped

12 oz. frozen green beans (I've also substituted 1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms, when Jenna ISN'T here!)
8 cups vegetable broth

1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 heaping tsp. dried thyme leaves

1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds (These are important, because they don't add flavor, but they DO make the barley and vegetables much, much easier to digest!)

1/4 cup regular pearled barley (There are bags of this in grocery stores, but for this small amount, you can also find it in bulk bins in health food stores and some grocery stores.)
2 cups frozen, chopped spinach (You can also use a 5 oz. bag of fresh, or a bunch of fresh, and chop it or cut it into strips.)

*SEE NOTE! In a large soup pot sprayed with cooking spray, heat the oil, and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook this for a few minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, and sauté a bit longer. Add the broccoli, and cook about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli has softened. Add the green beans.

Add the broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and caraway seeds. Add the barley, and cook until the barley's done, about 45 minutes.

Add the spinach, and heat through.

This is a great stand-alone meal, or, if I'm serving it to others, I add salad with bleu cheese or balsamic vinaigrette, depending on my mood!, and (maybe) garlic bread.

*NOTE: This takes less time to cook if it's broken up and cooked in smaller quantities, in the form of "add-ons." If you have more time and less inclination to do the adding in, just toss everything in together and simmer it until it's done! A couple of hours will do it, and it's better if it's simmered longer!

Also, you can use quick-cooking barley, which takes about 10-15 minutes to cook. I prefer regular, because I like the thought of less processing! This is funny, if you think about all the frozen vegetables I use! So, I'm compromising between prep time--fresh takes a LOT more prep--and taste--fresh tastes better! Amazingly, my family and neighbors--they're my "guinea pigs," so to speak--don't seem to care one way or the other! Ha!


  1. need to comment finally as Ive been printing away madly. LOVE THAT YOU TWO ARE DOING THIS TOGETHER AS WELL.
    Marlyle? you have an amazing daughter.

  2. we are headed out of town now, but when we get back there are several of your recent recipes i want to try

  3. Thanks, Carla! I think she's amazing, too!

    Emily, I'm glad you're willing to try them! Let me know what you think!

    Does anyone know how to get the "0" out of my name that the website posts? I have to laugh at myself, here!



Leave a comment! (Come on. You know you want to. Everybody's doing it.)