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.
It's also an easy way to get SIX different vegetables into you all at once 🙂
Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 large parsnips peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 3 large carrots peeled and cut into ¾-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
- ⅔ 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.
Refrigerate leftover soup in a covered container for up to 4 days or freeze for 3 months.
Do you eat lots of soup in the winter? It's my favorite!