It is snowing, lovely and white and the perfect time for a hike outdoors then a steaming hot bowl of yummy soup. I have adapted this recipe to exclude the beef and added in more vegetables. It is hearty and delicious. Barley, especially in whole-grain form (hulled or “pot barley” ) is an excellent grain to add to your repertoire. It is more flavourful and has a chewier texture than white rice, with a more subtle flavour than brown rice.
Barley is versatile: and like oats, it is an excellent source of soluble fibre, which can help in lowering blood cholesterol levels and is high in thiamin and fibre.
One serving of 1/2 cup cooked barley provides 97 calories, 1.8 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 3 g fibre.
Whole grain pot barley contains high levels of numerous vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E, niacin and folate.
This recipe is easy to make. I like to make the soup in the morning (20 minutes tops), and adding it to the slow cooker. No matter what the rest of the day looks like, whether off to work or out for a hike, a ski, snowshoeing or skating, nothing beats coming home to a hearty bowl of hot soup with a thick slice of whole grain bread. Enjoy:)
Vegetable Barley Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
1 lb mushrooms, sliced (any variety –white, cremini, shitakes, oyster or portobellos or any combination of)
1 each carrot and celery stalk, chopped
1 small turnip, diced
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
2 tbsp no salt tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3 cups water
½ cup pot barley
1-2 bay leaves
1 can (540 ml) black beans or white cannellini beans or combination of
1. In a large deep pot, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic with salt until onion is soft. Add mushrooms, carrot, celery, turnip, thyme and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms.
2. Add the tomato paste and vinegar; stir to coat the vegetables. Add stock, water, barley and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until barley is tender or after boiling, transfer to a slow cooker, set to low for about 3 hours. Add beans and heat through. Remove bay leaf before serving with fresh ground black pepper. Makes 4-6 servings.