Easy Mushroom Barley Soup

From Jeanette's Healthy Living (http://JeanettesHealthyLiving.blogspot.com)

Cremini mushrooms are richer in flavor than white button mushrooms, but any mushrooms will do. Although the basic recipe is delicious on its own, I would encourage you to try some of the optional add-in's, especially the tomato paste and soy sauce. These add another layer of flavor and richness to this soup. 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 package (about 10 ounces) cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup barley

10-12 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Add-Ins:

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

a few splashes of sherry

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and cook until vegetables are softened and mushrooms are a nice deep brown, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add barley, 10 cups of stock, and thyme. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until barley is tender, about 1 hour. Add more stock if soup is too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you're using any of the add-ins, here are the modifications to the directions:

  • Add garlic in Step 1.
  • Add oregano, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and soy sauce in Step 2.
  • Add parsley and a few splashes of sherry in Step 3.

Honey Balsamic Vinegar:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Serve on your salad of choice.