This comforting and nutritious bean and barley soup makes a great meal for a cold and gloomy day and is best when accompanied with warm homemade bread!
Legumes, rich in fiber and low in calories, are a concentrated source of estrogen, which is essential for DNA binding, gene expression and human reproduction. Beans are also amazingly high in antioxidants, especially pinto beans, red kidney beans and black beans, and they help to prevent heart and cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Finally, beans are high in protein, however, they need to be eaten with some type of grain food in order to get the necessary amino acids (methionine) needed to form a complete and high quality protein. In this recipe, pearled barley, a super nutritious cereal grain high in fiber, selenium, phosphorous, copper and manganese, will be the ingredient used to reach a perfect balance of flavor, texture and nutritional value!
♥Surprisingly, the health benefits and antioxidant content of canned beans is higher than the dried beans cooked at home. So, save yourself the time and effort, and use canned beans. Something similar occurs with canned tomatoes, which are also main ingredients of this recipe. Since heat increases their nutritional value, roasted, stewed, or canned tomatoes are actually more nutritious than raw tomatoes.
The amounts listed below will make a very large batch of Bean & Barley Soup, which will allow you to portion and freeze half of the soup for later. If you prefer to make a smaller batch, use only half of the ingredients.
- 2 cups of pearled barley
- 1 can of kidney beans
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of fava beans (or pinto beans)
- 3 cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 vegetable broth cubes
- 2 large diced potatoes
- 3 small-medium diced onions
- 6-8 garlic cloves (to increase garlic’s nutritional content and healing properties, mince the garlic cloves 10 minutes before adding them to the soup)
- 1 diced red bell pepper
- 3 small-medium carrots (cooking carrots increases their health benefits, to maximize the phytonutrient content, cook carrots whole and cut them with kitchen scissors once they are fully cooked)
- Salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
- Garnish: chopped parsley or diced green onions, and olive oil.
Fill a large pot half way with water, place it on the stove on high heat, and add the following ingredients as you prepare them: vegetable broth cubes, pearled barley, diced onions, cubed potatoes, whole carrots, minced garlic, diced red bell pepper, and bay leaves. Then add the 3 cans of diced tomatoes and the three cans of beans with their juice. Cover the pot with the lid and let the water boil.
Once the soup starts boiling, reduce heat and cook for an hour. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes, paprika and/or any other spices you like.
Remove the soup from the heat and let it rest for at least 30 more minutes. Serve in a bowl and garnish with sliced green onions and olive oil. Enjoy!
Bean and orzo (pasta) soup and frozen bean and barley containers: