I love eating soup in the winter, especially when it gets as cold as it has been. Once the temperature dips into the 20s and below, I feel cold all the time and soups and hot tea or apple cider become staples for me. Also, with soup you can get all the vitamins and nutrition you need in one pot. Once you put it on to cook, you can go and do other things and it is ready when you are. The recipe below is a barley, bean and vegetable soup. Since I rarely eat meat, I like to be sure to get the vitamins and proteins I need using beans and grains.
Barley is a very healthy and nutritious grain. It is high in fiber, which adds bulk to food, helps with digestion and makes you feel full longer. It is also a good source of protein. Protein is a source of energy and helps distribute oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Barley also is loaded with B-complex vitamins. It contains Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9. Vitamin B plays a vital role in metabolism and energy production. Barley also contains iron which helps in the formation and function of red blood cells. Barley contains the mineral Selenium which helps support the immune system. If you don’t get enough selenium in your diet, it can increase your susceptibility to viral infections. During the winter there are so many viruses going around you want to help ward them off. Just one cup of cooked pearl barley provides you with 20% of the daily recommended value.
With the added beans and vegetables, this soup will give you plenty more vitamins and fiber and will keep you warm as well. Instead of crackers, you may want to try this soup with a nice whole wheat crusty bread for some added fiber and grains. I hope you enjoy it!
Barley, Bean and Vegetable Soup
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
- 1/2 cup peppers (green, red, yellow, orange – any combination)
- 1/2 cup of any other vegetable you may want to add (if any)
- 2 Tbls of white wine
- 8 cups of vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 cup pearled barley (uncooked)
- 1 can (14″) pinto or white beans (or your favorite bean)
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 large bay leaves
In a large stock pot, saute the onions and all the other fresh vegetables in the white wine for about 5 minutes, or until they are getting tender. Add the frozen vegetables and continue to saute until they are starting to thaw. Add the broth, beans, barley and all the spices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, until the barley is soft and fluffy. Serve with your favorite warm bread or whole grain crackers.