Winter Vegetable Barley Soup
The Story Behind the Recipe
I first made this soup a couple years ago for an aunt of mine who recently decided to be vegetarian. I noticed that, over the past few years, she started bringing her own food to our family holiday gatherings. I always felt bad because everyone else was able to share this delicious hot meal, and there she was heating her meal in a microwave.
So, when I started doing some of the cooking for Christmas Eve dinner, I set out to make something she could eat. I started with the vegetables I usually used in my chicken noodle soup. Then I threw in turnips and butternut squash because we had plenty from our garden. I seasoned it with my favorite herbs and seasonings. Finally, I added kale to finish it off and hoped for the best. The result was better than I could have expected! Not only did my aunt love and appreciate it, but the whole family raved about how delicious the soup tasted!
If it's not you, chances are someone in your family or group of friends is a vegetarian or vegan. So, this holiday season, why not make something everyone can enjoy? Not only is this soup easy to make, but the colors and flavors of the vegetables also blend together nicely.
Estimated Cook Time
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3/4 cup celery (2 to 3 ribs), diced
- 5 carrots, peeled, diced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 to 2 turnips, peeled, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, heaping
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 to 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3/4 to 1 cup quick-cooking barley
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped or torn
- Heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and celery; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, garlic, and turnips. Season with pepper to taste. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes until vegetables start to soften, stirring occasionally. Add herbs, turmeric, and cayenne pepper; stir and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil.
- Once liquid begins to boil, reduce to a simmer. Once you can pierce vegetables with a fork, add the barley and squash. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer until it starts to wilt (about 3 to 5 minutes).
- Serve and enjoy!
- To make it easier, buy butternut squash already peeled and cubed.
- If you don't have quick-cooking barley, you can cook the barley separately, then add it to the soup when you add the kale.
- If you want to use fresh herbs, remember to use 3x the amount listed for the dried herbs.