Healthy Recipes

Published on January 27th, 2014 | by Andrea Bertoli

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Winter Meals: Barley Tomato Soup

Barley is a long-lost cousin of wheat and not so common here in American food. But it is a super healthful grain and extra delicious this time of year when many are buried under piles of snow. Barley cooks into a creamy, filling soup that seems super appropriate right at this time of year. Best of all, this is an optional slow cooker recipe, so it’s super easy. AND it’s made from pantry and kitchen staples, so you can make it easily and cheaply. Let’s get started!

tomato barley soupIMG_1807

barley tomato soup, garnished with kale chips!

Barley Tomato Soup
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup pearled barley, soaked for one hour
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt and black pepper (more to taste)

  1. Slow-cooker method: In a skillet, heat olive oil until warm. Add onion and cook on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes without stirring (this allows them to brown evenly). Stir in carrots and celery and cook just five minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Drain and rinse the barley. Add to slow cooker along with tomatoes and cooked vegetables. Cover with fresh water or vegetable broth (about 4 cups). Cook on high for three to four hours, or on low for six to eight hours). Barley will absorb a lot of liquid, so check periodically and add more water if needed. When barley is soft and chewy, stir in nutritional yeast and salt. Taste, and add more seasonings if you like.
  3. Stovetop method: In a large stockpot, heat olive oil until warm. Add onion and cook on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes without stirring (this allows them to brown evenly). Stir in carrots and celery and cook just five minutes. Reduce heat and add tomatoes.
  4. Drain and rinse the barley. Add to stockpot. Cover with fresh water or vegetable broth (about 4 cups) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for half hour – one hour, stirring occassionally to make sure barley doesn’t stick.
  5. For either method: When barley is soft and chewy, stir in nutritional yeast and salt. Taste, and add more seasonings if you like.
  6. Serve immediately, or store leftovers for up to a week. Barley will continue to absorb water, so you many need to thin out the leftovers with more water. Makes 8-10 servings.

Why choose barley? Barley is a great whole grain to add into our diets. It does contain gluten, but it is slightly different than that found in wheat and might be tolerated by those that are wheat sensitive (check with your doctor first, of course). Barley is super high in trace minerals like molybdenum, manganese and more, and is a most excellent source of fiber. Fiber helps keep us regular and keep our digestion humming along smoothly. To learn more about the health benefits of barley, check out this article on World’s Healthiest Foods. You can add a handful of barley to any of your soups to add a little bit of texture, or build a salad around this healthful grain in warmer weather. Check out this beautiful barley salad on Eat. Drink… Better.


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About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram



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