Lima Bean, Barley and Vegetable Soup
Delicious and Nutritious Soup for Cold Evenings
Editors Note: Healthy eating is accessible to everyone without breaking the bank.
With obesity and diabetes growing at epidemic rates and food costs, especially for meat, skyrocketing in the United States, the humble bean is growing in popularity.
My friends, Barbara and David Larson, have created a whole website Grow, Cook, Eat Beans For Healthy Eating and a Healthy Budget
devoted to this nutritious food. This is a recipe from their site.
3 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon or more olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced into coins
4 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped, or 1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs
1/2 cup pearl barley
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water (or more)
Salt to taste
2 1/2 cups cooked lima beans with some of their juice (1 cup dry limas, soaked and cooked until tender)
1 small bunch kale, chard, beet greens, or spinach, roughly chopped (approx. 4 cups)
Chopped parsley for garnish
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the bacon (if used) in a deep kettle or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until it renders its fat but isn't crisp. Add olive oil to make 2 tablespoons fat in the pot. Increase heat to medium and add the onion, celery, and carrots; saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add herb mix and barley, and stir for another couple of minutes, until the herbs begin to release their fragrance. Add the chicken broth and water, and bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes, until the barley and the vegetables are tender. Add the lima beans and the greens and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the greens; they should be tender but still bright green. Stir in the vinegar just before serving, and garnish each bowl with parsley and grated cheese at the table.
Serves 6 generously.