Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Heart Smart Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup

You know that expression “it’s a heart attack on a plate”?  Maybe it’s not a real expression, but I always say it to describe something that is full of fat other delicious things that will clog your arteries and kill you sooner rather than later.   Well this soup recipe that I’m sharing today is kind of the complete opposite.  It’s like “a heart protector in a bowl”.

I have three favorite cholesterol lowering foods – oats, beans and barley.  Sure, there are other good things to eat for heart health, but that trio contains some of the highest sources of soluble fiber, which is the kind that lowers your cholesterol.  Soluble fiber is also great for reducing your appetite because it fills you up for longer, and slows down your digestion a bit, and it helps keep your blood sugar more stable.

This soup features both beans and barley along with lots of vegetables in it.  So it’s almost like a heart protector in every bite.  It’s also a handy thing to have on hand for the polar vortex, which seems to be hitting most of the country every other week this winter.  Warms you up from head to toe and fills you up for hours.


Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup|Craving Something Healthy

It’s also an easy way to get SIX different vegetables into you all at once 🙂

Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup

Yield: 8 servings

Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup barley (uncooked)
  • 3 cups baby kale (or spinach), stems trimmed and chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz small white beans (navy beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1-10 ounce package frozen peas
  • salt and pepper


Heat oil in a large stockpot on high heat and add onion, parsnips, and carrots, and cook until lightly browned and softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

Add broth, and then potatoes, uncooked barley, and herbs and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 50 minutes, or until barley is tender.

Remove and discard bay leaf and rosemary stems.

With an immersion blender, pulse soup about 10 times, or until desired consistency is achieved.

Alternatively, remove about 2 cups of the solids and liquid and puree them in a blender. Add pureed mixture back into the pot.

Add drained beans, kale and peas, and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until peas are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


Adapted from Cook's Country

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Servings Per Container 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 263 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 337mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 17%
Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
Sugars 9g
Protein 9g 18%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Do you eat lots of soup in the winter?  It’s my favorite!

Eat well!

2 Responses to “Heart Smart Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup”

  1. Anne, I love barley soup and I’ve never tried it with beans. You’ve given me some homework. It’s been so warm this winter in Arizona that I haven’t made as many hearty meals as other years, but I’ll do this! I love the use of kale in it.

    • Anne says:

      Hope you like it! I’m jealous that you live in AZ. We’re thinking about moving there, although I would miss soup! – we’ll have to talk one of these days 🙂

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