I started with the idea from this Ellie Kreiger recipe for Tuscan Vegetable Soup, but due to lack of ingredients and forgetfulness, it's also improvised, as seems to be the case with all my cooking. My mother in law made me the same soup (without the cheese, but with green beans and butternut squash cubes) over Christmas vacation and it was delish.
I also served breadsticks made from the leftover pizza dough I made from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (blogged here). I just scooped out some refrigerated dough, tossed it in some flour to make it workable, and let it sit for a while to warm up while I did other things. When I was ready to bake it, I cut it into 8 pieces and shaped each piece into a stick, put it on my perforated bread pan and popped it into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. A hit with the family. Next time, I will up the percentage of the whole wheat flour as no one complained about the texture. Keep upping it until they complain?
To round out the meal we also had sweet potatoes cut into fries, tossed with a dollop of oil and Penzey's sandwich sprinkle and roasted in the oven, and brussel sprouts sliced in half and given the same treatment.
Here's how I actually made the soup.
Vegetable Barley Soup
- medium onion
- garlic clove
- 2 carrots, roughly chunked
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chunked
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 c. fresh green beans
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 28 oz diced canned tomatoes with basil
- 1 c. barley, cooked
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Threw onion, garlic clove, carrots, and celery into blender and pulsed until chopped. Water sauteed all of it while I chopped a small zucchini into 1/2 inch cubes and cut the ends off the green beans and chopped them into 1 inch pieces. Once the onion mixture looked like it was softening, stirred in the pepper, thyme and sage and cooked until fragrant. Then added in the green beans, zucchini, broth and tomatoes. Cooked until veggies are soft. Stirred in the cooked barley.
Served with salt, pepper, italian seasoning and cilantro as condiments. I thought it was good without the salt, but my son and husband added some.
Next time, I wouldn't cook it as long because I would have preferred for the green beans to keep their color and crunch. Also, I might have cooked the barley in the soup, and just added in the green beans and zucchini when the barley was close to done. Also, beans, spinach or butternut squash would have been a good additions.
My 8 year old tried it without complaint but didn't eat it. She filled up on the breadsticks, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. My son and I had two bowls, and my husband ate his, but said he prefers his barley soup with beef in it. eh... nope.
Overall, a veggie filled, satisfying meal.